Editorial: Schools show progress in crisis management since Columbine

Monday marked the 10th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School in a Denver suburb that left 12 students and one popular teacher dead and scores wounded.

Columbine was not the first school site, nor will it be the last, known for gun violence. Although gun control advocates may express different thoughts, the cry for a gun ban after the April 20 shootings or even on Monday's anniversary will not solve the problem.

Prohibiting guns would produce the same result as banning alcohol from 1920 to 1933. People intent on doing harm can obtain weapons on the black market to carry out their plan just like bootleggers produced enough liquor to keep thousands lubricated.

Three years before Columbine, a former Scout leader walked into a Dunblane, Scotland, school with 9 mm Browning HP pistol and two .357 Magnum revolvers and fired off 109 rounds. Great Britain has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.

The key to preventing tragedies at Columbine and Dunblane, and more recently Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, lies in having an aggressive crisis management program that involves students, staff and law enforcement.

School districts in our area " Carson, Churchill, Douglas and Lyon " have implemented programs to make their schools safer. A better working relationship between the school districts and law enforcement has been the first step.

Staff members must wear identification tags, visitors must check in and sign out at the main office, crisis management plans have improved (to include mock drills), counselors train more in helping troubled youth and students have received better instruction in recognizing troubled classmates.

Furthermore, some school districts have implemented automated calling to notify parents when a crisis occurs in the schools.

No plan is perfect, but area school districts have recognized the need to keep their most precious commodity safe through training, education and public awareness.

Just like we don't want to see another 9/11, we don't want to see a repeat of Columbine either.


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