Screenings, safety checks can deter shootings

Cameron Jett, Editor-in-Chief

Look, we’re all tired of seeing the phrase “another school shooting” show up in headlines. No sane person in America isn’t mentally distraught by this each time it happens. Some cry, some get angry and some grow numb.

What happened at Nashville’s Covenant School this week is a tragedy where three children and three school staffers were helplessly gunned down.

The shooter, who doesn’t deserve to be named, was shot and killed by police responding to the call. Metro Nashville police officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo killed the shooter before more lives were lost. But even their incredible response time and a swift takedown, there’s nothing they could have done to stop it before someone died.

Those were three people working to help children find a bright future and three more who never got to grow up.

And we’re always wondering when’s the next one and if someone we know is going to be the victim. I’ve got three siblings still in school. If I lost one of them, I don’t know how I’d begin to pick up the pieces.

To hopefully deter and prevent these shootings, things need to change in regard to mental health and school security.

Let’s be willing to try something new.

We’ve got to keep pushing the importance of mental health screenings. I get why the older crowd has trouble with that. They don’t want to say that something is inherently wrong with them.

Maybe this is something parents have to accept when raising kids. 

Police involved in the case are saying the shooter had been receiving treatment for a mental health disorder. Former classmates described the shooter as having “obsessive, stalkerish” behavior. If the shooter would have undergone a mental health screening, he would not have been able to purchase the weapons. 

The federal government only prohibits individual who have resided in a mental hospital or gone before a judge from owning a gun. 

Schools also have to up security, much like we did with air travel after 9/11. Metal detectors are going to have to become the norm, and we have to treat every visitor the same. 

Tennessee passed a law in the wake of the shooting that makes hiring resource officers at private schools like Covenant a streamlined process. Covenant did not have a resource officer on campus. States across America need to propose similar legislation if they haven’t already done it. 

Whatever safety standards are implemented need to be brought together and centralized through law or an organization. Just like how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) do checks on workplace safety, there should be routine checks by people outside of individual schools who test how vigilant school safety is.

If it can save a life or prevent another shooting, then I believe that it’s a step in the right direction.