The Real School Safety Debate: Why Legislative Responses Should Focus on Schools and Not on Guns

Recent tragedies in our nation’s schools—such as the Sandy Hook shooting in Newton, Connecticut and the Marysville-Pilchuck shooting near Seattle, Washington—have brought the school safety debate to the forefront of American politics. Issues of serious school violence receive intense media scrutiny. As a result, the school safety debate tends to incite emotional responses from legislatures, school districts, and parents alike. However, given that school safety concerns more than just mass shootings, emotionally charged legislation focused upon firearms is not the answer. Rather, school safety legislation needs to be school-centered.

In response to the current guns-in-schools debate, this Note proposes that the proper way to address school safety is through state legislation that requires school resource officer programs and individual school safety plans, and creates a source of financial support for these increased safety measures. Recent legislation from Indiana and Connecticut serve as models for state policymakers to follow when responding to the issue of school safety through legislation.