Tags: Gun Control | Mass Shootings | Media Bias | florida | mental health | parkland | scott

Saving Lives Should Mandate Policies on Securing Schools

Saving Lives Should Mandate Policies on Securing Schools
(Lexandr Lexandrovich/Dreamstime)

By Tuesday, 20 February 2018 11:35 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Again, our nation is recovering from a devastating school shooting. This particular one happened in Parkland, Florida. If you’ve spent any time following the news, you’ve seen people asking how we are going to address this terrible trend.

We’ve seen people blame the "thoughts and prayers comments" which are not meant to be a solution but rather expressing empathy. We’ve also seen the calls for "gun control" which are never followed up on with actual policy suggestions.

What we need to be talking about are actual solutions that will have concrete results. That’s what is so upsetting about the media’s response to shootings. This is a dire issue that we need to solve as a nation. We need to come together to implement solutions, not shout slogans that serve to shame. Below, I will lay out solutions that can cure this terrible contagion infecting our nation.

Refocus Our Law-Enforcement

It was reported that the perpetrator in this shooting should have been on the FBI's radar, but apparently, they didn’t do their homework. An Internet video blogger reported that the shooter left a comment on one of his videos that read, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." Now anyone who’s been on the Internet for five minutes knows that you can’t take everything you read online seriously, but the video blogger thought it was serious enough to report it to the police.

Additionally, the username the shooter used was Nikolas Cruz, his actual name. The FBI thought it was serious enough question the video blogger in person after he reported it.

Regretfully though, the FBI was unable to find and confront the admitted shooter even after they checked the name against their databases. This points to a possible disconnect between the FBI and local authorities that apparently knew about the troubled teenager.

The fallout from this disconnect is unprecedented. Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is calling for the resignation of the FBI director, Christopher Wray. And U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is calling for a massive review of how the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI respond to indicators of potential violent acts.

Annual Mental Health Evaluations at Schools

There should be mandatory annual mental health evaluations with the specific purpose of identifying individuals that are risks to teachers and students. There were obvious signs that the shooter in this incident was a problem. Simply determining that a student is an at-risk individual and kicking them out of a school is not enough. This information needs to be communicated to the authorities, where they can monitor said students.

Treating students posing threats to other students as "misguided" and allowing not treating them as true threats is a mistake. One troubled student is not more important than the rest of them. The shooter certainly isn’t more important than the people who were injured or lost on that terrible day.

We Need Armed Guards at Public Schools

We need to start putting armed police officers and armed retired veterans on public school campuses. Some public schools, especially in Florida, have populations rivalling many college campuses. Public schools are essentially the only government-owned buildings that do not have armed guards. This makes them soft targets.

If courthouses and public legislature buildings have armed guards, why don’t the publicly owned buildings that house children for 8 plus hours a day have them? The counter-argument is that we shouldn’t have to have armed guards on school grounds. The problem with that argument is that there are plenty of things that we shouldn’t have to do, but we do because we have to do them. That is the nature of our reality on the subject of school shootings.

An example of a society that has dealt with the issue of school shootings well is Israel. In Israel, each school has an armed guard on each floor, and each floor can lock itself-down, preventing an intruder from moving between floors.

The ability to isolate intruders from students would make all the difference.

Funding Channels

Finally, one may ask, how are we going to pay for all of this? Every penny we spend on it clearly will be worth it. For the state of Florida, we can draw from the normal channels that we already get funding for education. One would be the lottery which is currently used to fund a significant portion of the Florida school budget. We might have to increase the Public School Tax, but I think it would be an increase we are all willing to pay.

We could also take a good hard look at how our taxes are being spent, cutting wasteful spending with the intent of transferring those funds to pay for the societal prescriptions mentioned in this article.

If we’re serious about preventing tragedies like that one that took place last week, then we need to start proposing and implementing actual prescriptions to this issue. We’re all sucked up into the commentary seen on the TV news networks rather than sitting down to find solutions to the terrible problem of school shootings. If we don’t do that, we’ll find ourselves in the future repeating the same slogans that are meant only to make people feel good rather than do good.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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If we’re serious about preventing tragedies like that one that took place last week, then we need to start proposing and implementing actual prescriptions. We’re all sucked up into the commentary on TV news networks rather than sitting down to find solutions.
florida, mental health, parkland, scott
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 11:35 AM
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