Weekly Staff Editorial


Earlier this month, Charles Carl Roberts entered an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania, taking 10 girls hostage before killing five of them and then taking his own life. Less than a week earlier, Eric Hainstock entered a Wisconsin school, killing the principal. Two more incidents took place just before the latter incident in which four more lives were claimed.

School violence is not a new problem that has been recently raised, but it has sprung up over the past few weeks. It seems one incident triggers a chain reaction of copy cats. Until these clusters of shootings meet the public eye, the problem that has been around for a while now seems to get ignored.

It seems as though a major incident has to take place for it to receive enough national attention that changes are demanded. After the Columbine shootings back in April 1999, school violence became a priority but since then has fallen down the list. It seems it has fallen down so far that incidents are beginning to occur almost as regularly as a high speed chase in Los Angeles.

School violence has become so apparent that President George W. Bush even addressed it during the Conference on School Safety. Yet even with the president’s recognition of the problem, he has offered no new solutions and has not directed any course of action in helping prevent further incidents.

These incidents have taken place in communities in which no one expected it to occur, quiet middle class towns with no apparent violent history. Those same communities are quick to look for a scapegoat usually turning to violence on television. These very same reasons of low expectations of violence may be the very downfall of school safety in recent history. Many of these offenders have preconceived notions of the actions they are considering. Officials need to step up school safety standards as well as gun availability regulations. Something needs to be done. School children should not have access to weapons and they should be protected by the government.