Learning From the Past to Stop School Shootings

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research published a report called Stopping School Shootings: Lessons from Parkland, Oxford, Uvalde, and the Federal Commission on School Safety. Author Thomas Wheeler, former senior adviser and senior counsel to the U.S. secretary of education and the White House Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS), highlights the FCSS’s recommendations made after the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Three of their most important recommendations included the need for:

  1. Effective multidisciplinary threat-assessment teams that work together to assess reports of potential threats;
  2. A free flow of information regarding threats and threatening behavior between various stakeholders of schools; and
  3. Professional law enforcement to take a hands-on role in evaluating and responding to threats.

In this report, Wheeler delves into the facts of the 2021 shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, Michiganas alleged by the lawsuit filed by the victims’ parentsas well as the facts that are emerging regarding the 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and argues that the FCSS policies could have, if successfully implemented, potentially averted these incidents. He also explains the kinds of pressures that many school districts are facing today to abandon these best practices.

It is the author’s hope that “this report can be a resource to state- and district-level leaders and draw attention back toward best practices that could help save students’ lives.”

For more information, check out HSDL’s Featured Topics on School Violence or Active Shooters, or you can also explore some of the several documents related to school shootings. Please note an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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