Last July in Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes opened fire into a crowded movie theater during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes allegedly killed 12 people and injured 58 people, including many women and children.
Then, in December a man in Clackamas, Oregon, fired in a mall filled with holiday shoppers, killing 2 people and injuring 1 before taking his own life.
All of that would pale in comparison when a man barged into Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012. 20-year old Adam Lanza, armed with a high-powered rifle, killed 20 children, six adults, and then finally himself. Lanza obtained weapons from his mother, a gun enthusiast, who was also his first target and victim.
Alarmingly, according to Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services, gun sales rose over 180% the day after the massacre compared to the same day the year prior.
Four days after the Sandy Hook shooting, a sixth grader in Utah took a .22 caliber handgun to school in his backpack to protect himself in case there was another shooting in his school.
On January 10 of this year a high school student in Taft, California opened fire on a student and teacher and injured them.
As part of a strategy to prevent future school shootings, president Obama announced that he would be pushing a ban on assault rifles, impose a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines and expand background checks for gun purchasers.
But what about the legally-owned guns already in the hands of Americans? And how would a new policy end the black market sales of guns?
Is our “safe learning environment” no longer safe?
“I feel that schools need to be more aware of violence and try to be more secure,” said Angelica Carrillo, a Hiram Johson student. “I understand we can’t stop people from bringing weapons to school but we can take actions to prevent it.”
According to mapsoftheworld.com, the United States has the highest gun-related crime rate in the world, far ahead of the country that comes in second.
Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond emailed teachers after the Sandy Hook shooting and asked teachers to keep their classroom doors locked at all times.
Would this stop someone from from coming in? If someone knocks on a door, chances are that the teacher will just open it or if the intruder wants to get in badly enough, they could just shoot the door knob.
The District also met with the police department and sheriff department to reevaluate their safety plans and enhance security at school sites. They also formed a safety committee which includes law enforcement, county probation officers, PTA members, students, district staff and school staff.
Hiram Johnson High School Principal, Feliberto Cedros, says that he is keeping the school safe by producing quarterly information.
“Quarterly school information and a school wide safety plan that includes physical emergencies and human emergencies, also training to school faculty and campus security,” are methods Cedros says Hiram Johnson is using to prevent shootings.“A resource officer is stationed at the school and we are in contact with the Sac PD.”
At the time of this writing, however, English teacher Peter Vidovich says he hasn’t had any safety training.
“None, nothing at all, he (Mr. Cedros) hasn’t acknowledged it to us and we haven’t had any such training,” said Vidovich.
Cedros said that he gave staff the school-wide safety report at the beginning of the year. He added that students and staff are trained through fire drills and intruder alerts that have happened in past years.
He also said he has a copy of the school-wide safety plan that has been approved by the district in his office.
Hopefully, that training and approval will be enough to prevent a shooting at Hiram Johnson.