BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Friday marks six months since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Tragedies like that keep the issue of safety in the forefront of parents minds.
In Battle Creek on Friday a school safety seminar was held trying to get parents, teachers and law enforcement to take an active role in the in their children’s safety.
School shootings are tough subjects to hear about and experts who talk about it almost everyday say that is exactly the problem. School advocates said if people want safer schools, they have to stop denying that a threat to their safety is out there.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has seen the aftermath of tragedy, visiting the campus of Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook after a mass shooting.
“You cannot spend time in these places without developing a deep sense of urgency,” said Pulitzer Prize nominated author Lt. Col. Grossman.
The key for Lt. Col. Grossman and other school safety advocates is convincing people the threat of a school shooting is real, even though it hasn’t happened to them yet.
Lt. Col. Grossman, “Our kids are more likely to killed by violence in the school then every other scenario put together and yet our only response is denial.”
That’s why he spends 300 days out of the year going to seminars like the one at the W.K. Kellogg Auditorium, talking to parents like Lorraine Hunter of Battle Creek.
“I’m concerned for their safety. And a lot of people are concerned, but they don’t want to do anything about it,” said Hunter.
The key for school safety advocates is getting people like Hunter to take action.
“Somebody in that auditorium is going to leave today and run for school board and make a change,” said Lt. Col. Grossman.
That action, according to Dr. Michael Langworthy who studies the science of school shootings, can come in many ways. One way is to recognize warning signs in teens for example.
Dr. Langworthy said, “They can intervene and help out by turning someone in that is saying hey, we are going to visit violence on the community or the school.”
Others say the most effective change can come from parents demanding safer measures in their school.