News & Politics

This May Be the Most Pathetic Proposal to Prevent School Shootings Yet

When will we address the real causes of gun violence?

Photo Credit: Jeffrey J Snyder / Shutterstock

Florida’s Broward school district, which oversees the Parkland school where a former student murdered 17 people in February, has announced it has a new plan to keep its schools safe. When students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High return from spring break next week, they’ll be required to ditch their regular Jansports and carry their books and supplies in school-issued, transparent backpacks, the Miami Herald reports.

According to the Herald, “Students will also be required to wear identification badges at all times and could soon see metal detectors installed.” The new safety measures are presumably intended to prevent copycat shootings. “While we can’t change the heartbreaking and senseless act of violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, by working together, we can change the future,” superintendent Robert Runcie wrote in a letter to parents. “All students deserve safe schools.”

That’s not all the extra security MSD will receive. On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott offered to send a squad of state troopers to guard the high school beginning next week. School administrators accepted the offer.

The district’s attempts to keep students safe are commendable, but telling kids to wear see-through backpacks is just the latest in a growing list of ridiculous ideas that have been proposed in the wake of the mass shooting. Gun rights advocates have suggested arming teachers and transforming public schools into virtual prisons rather than implement effective gun control legislation.

The school district’s new safety policies put even more pressure on a student body already suffering from post-traumatic stress. Any MSD student hoping for something approaching a return to normalcy after February’s massacre and ensuing media swarm may find it hard to come by in a sea of clear backpacks and armed stated troopers patrolling the hallways. AlterNet posted a piece Wednesday about the "Walk Up Not Out” movement, which unfairly puts the onus on teens to prevent school violence by urging them to befriend loner, would-be shooters. Here’s yet another example of good intentions implemented with no consideration of long-term goals.  

When will we do the tough work of addressing the true causes of gun violence—violent paradigms of masculinity, racism, misogyny, and easy access to military-grade weapons—instead of proposing quick-fix solutions?

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Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.