K–12 (“k twelve”, “k through twelve” or “k to twelve”) is a term used in the United States, Canada, South Korea, Turkey, the Philippines, and Australia.
The term is a shortening of kindergarten (K) for 4 to 6 year-olds through twelfth grade (12) for 17 to 19 year-olds, the first and last grades of free education in these countries.
Meaningful Action Needed
After the horrific December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama promised “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.”
His gun reform push, focused on a background check measure, had overwhelming public support. However, it failed in the Senate in 2013, and Congress hasn’t passed any other gun legislation since then.
Shootings Since Sandy Hook
The gun reform group, Everytown for Gun Safety, say that there have been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook. Most of them happened at K-12 schools – not colleges or universities as you can see from the map. The red dots are shootings at K-12 schools. The others are colleges and universities.
The Threat Is Not Just External
In October 2014, Security Magazine reported that 1,200 firearms, knives, box cutters, razors and other dangerous objects were confiscated from NYC students in the 2013-14 school year.
Knives were the most common weapons confiscated from schoolchildren. These included folding blades that look like credit cards.
The New York Post said that in the last school year, the contraband also included nine firearms and 41 BB guns. According to the Post, students don’t arm themselves to commit crimes but to protect themselves in dangerous neighbourhoods or in case of conflicts with other kids,
Metal detectors picked up 712 weapons which accounted for around 58% of the total. Another 42% were recovered after tips from staff or students. Despite the stigma metal detectors can bring to a school, cops and some principals say they are essential to school safety. Mayor de Blasio is currently reviewing the use of scanners.
It’s a sign of our times that airport-style metal detectors are used every day in 79 NY city high schools and junior highs. Another eight schools have metal detectors but use them on a random basis. The NYPD also performs unannounced scanning with mobile units at other schools.
However, the New York Post reported that
“None of the recovered guns was found with metal detectors and none was fired. The youngest kid who packed heat last year was 10, but in January 2013, a 7-year-old second-grader brought a semi automatic handgun to Wave Preparatory School in Far Rockaway, Queens.“
“Among recent incidents, a 14-year-old boy at JHS 258 in Brooklyn was caught in March with a .22-caliber handgun in his book bag.
In May, a 12-year-old boy at PS/MS 29 in The Bronx showed his handgun to a pal, who told an adult.
And a 14-year-old boy at PS 305 in Brooklyn whipped out a .25-caliber handgun in the restroom, where a teacher spotted him. “
How Do We Stop This?
In November 2014, Security Magazine reported that the Ohio House are considering legislation that would make security measures mandatory in the designs of new school buildings.
The legislations is called HB446 and outlines a variety of security features including
- surveillance video
- entryway metal detectors
- panic buttons
- direct entrances and exits only accessible from inside classrooms
Under the proposed new legislation, new school buildings would have to have at least two of the security features.
Rep. John Rogers, D-Mentor-On-The-Lake, said in a report in the Alliance Review –
“Schools would have final discretion over which features to include and would be encouraged to include more if they so choose. One would hope that current school design and construction methods include this type of proactive planning. This legislation, I believe, would help ensure it.”
The Ohio Department of Education would be required to adopt specific rules for implementing the proposed law change, and the state’s School Facilities Commission would be responsible for reviewing plans for compliance with the security requirements.
Don’t Wait for Legislation to be Passed
If you are worried about security in your K – 12 facilities, act now.