As your newsroom covers recent shootings and concerns about gun violence in Wisconsin schools, I wanted to share a few resources:
First, in addition to covering concerns about gun violence in schools, it’s also important to recognize that gun violence affects Wisconsin children and teens outside of school, too. Firearms are the second leading cause of death in the state for this population, killing an average of 46 children and teens per year. Nationally, 85% of children under 13 that are victims of gun homicide are killed in the home. And a study of data drawn from 16 states, including Wisconsin, indicates that nearly two-thirds of child fatalities involving domestic violence were caused by guns.
Second, when reporting on these incidents, it’s vital to recognize the research showing that those who perpetrate gun violence in schools are almost always current or former students who show warning signs and access their gun from the home. These insights form the basis for the comprehensive school safety recommendations made by Everytown for Gun Safety, American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Those recommendations include:
- Embracing intervention strategies that can be implemented by school districts, including evidence-based threat assessment programs that train educators and school personnel on how to safely and effectively intervene when there are signs that a student is in crisis or poses a risk without overly relying on school-based discipline or criminal justice solutions.
- Supporting policies proven to help keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them in the first place, such as secure firearm storage laws and requiring background checks on all gun sales.
- Raising awareness among parents that guns used in school shootings come from the home and it’s their responsibility to securely store their firearms.
- Implementing red flag laws, which allow families and law enforcement to intervene and temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns when there are clear warning signs they pose a threat to themselves or others.
- Improving the physical security of schools with tactics endorsed by experts like installing internal locks and limiting the number of entry points and who can enter schools.
- Supporting the health of students by providing more counselors, psychologists, and social workers to help increase mental health services and social-emotional support in schools.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out.