Law Enforcement's Impact on School Violence

Law Enforcement's Impact on School Violence

Tanya M. Grant (Sacred Heart University, USA) and Jessica Fidler (University of New Haven, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6246-7.ch018

Abstract

Since the 1980s, school violence has been prominent in society and is gradually increasing in occurrence. In 1999, the Columbine High School shooting shocked the country demonstrating how deadly school violence can be, with a death count of 13 total people, including 12 students and 1 teacher. The next prominent occurrence was in 2005 on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, where 10 people were killed at the hands of a 16-year-old student. Another more recent act of school violence was in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There, the shooter killed 28 people including children and teachers inside the school and his mother. And the latest horrific incidence of this kind took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February of 2018. The shooter took the lives of 14 students and 3 school employees. As a response to these shootings, law enforcement has collaborated with schools to implement the use of school resource officers, emergency evaluation/reaction drills, and new policies regarding school violence.
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Columbine High School Shooting

Littleton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, was founded in 1890 after 245 residents voted to incorporate the town; the 13-square-mile city is now home to more than 44,000 people. Littleton has top-ranked primary schools, multiple higher education establishments, and more than 2,000 diverse businesses. With such incredible characteristics, this is a place where no one would expect one of the most horrific school shootings to take place.

On April 20, 1999, two high school students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, arrived at Columbine High School and planted two duffel bags containing homemade bombs in the school cafeteria. The bombs were programmed to detonate at the same time fellow students were filling the cafeteria for their lunch break – the one point in the day when a vast number of students would be in one place – a perfect opportunity for Klebold and Harris to achieve maximum casualties. Approximately three miles away from Columbine, Klebold and Harris planted a diversionary bomb in a field to detonate at a specific time and draw attention away from the high school (contrary to their plan, the bomb only partially detonated, causing just a small fire that was quickly extinguished). When the bombs in the cafeteria failed to go off, the shooters decided to head into the school and ultimately shot and killed 12 Columbine students and one teacher before taking their own lives (Brown & Merritt, 2002).

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