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Lefevre: Advocate for more human services

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In response to the horrific mass murder in Uvalde and other school shootings, schools districts increase security, adding fences around schools, installing more locks, blocking door windows, adding more police and security personnel. Millions of dollars go towards these measures, dollars that don’t go towards teaching and learning. The school becomes ever more like a fortress than a place of community. And the thing is, every school spends precious funds on fortification, although only a tiny percentage will ever experience a school shooting. Those funds, which are drained away from teaching and learning, have no positive benefit for the vast majority of schools, and increase the culture of fear and vulnerability for our kids.

While security measures need to be kept in place, I’m saying let’s look at the source of the problem, not just try to barricade our schools against the end result.

Look at the age of the school shooters. The median age of all school shooters is 16, and two thirds of all shooters were under 18.(95% are male, by the way.) What happens to kids in 18 years that turns them from the innocent 10-year-old victims whom we mourn to heartless killers?

If we spent as much on school counselors, peer group counseling, anti-bullying programs, family support systems, child tax credits, and parenting classes as we do on campus fortification, we’d divert potential shooters long before they reached for a gun. At the same time, every kid, in every school, would benefit. For every school shooter, there must be hundreds, nay thousands of kids who suffer rejection, family dysfunction, depression, though they never harm anyone but themselves. Schools are where society meets the individual in his or her time of greatest need for connection, acceptance, and, sometimes, intervention.

Advocate for more human services along with more fortification!



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