Educators and law enforcement officials gathered at Wayland High School to learn more about how they can protect children at school from violence.
Author Lt. Col. Dave Grossman spoke on a number of issues during his presentation including his feeling that schools need to change the makeup of their glass entry doors.
He said that’s how a number of killers gained access to the classroom and hallways in some of America’s most deadly school shootings.
“I was there on the night of the massacre at Jonesboro. I was there at Virginia Tech. I was there after Columbine,” said Grossman. “Not a single kid has been killed by school fire in over 50 years. How many kids killed by school violence?”
Grossman said in 1997 there were 57 victims of school violence and by 2006, that number had climbed to 63 dead. With 27 killed during the Sandy Hook shooting, he said another all-time high will be reached for last year’s school year.
He said one of the most important things we can do is to learn from the past, that includes shoring up doors and windows where shooters can break the glass in order to get in.
“In Sandy Hook Elementary School, the killer shot out the glass and stepped in to murder everybody,” said Grossman. “In Columbine High School, 12 of the 13 murdered were murdered in the library and the killer shot out the glass and stepped in the library. In Red Lake Minnesota, we had seven dead in Red Lake Minnesota High School, and six of them were murdered in a classroom where the killer shot out the glass and reached in and opened the door.”
He says schools can change the odds by adding a wire barrier to those windows and glass areas to keep perpetrators from reaching in to unlock the doors.
“For about 500 years we’ve had the technology to put wire mesh in the window or put a laminate film on the window. You don’t even know it’s there. You shoot can shoot holes all day long and they’re not reaching though to kill our kids.”
Grossman said another common denominator involved in the school shootings, violent video games. He said research has shown that all the shooters frequently played those games.
“We know, all the school killers have one thing in common, violent video games. They really are the common denominators in these killers,” said Grossman. “The worst high school massacres have been in Europe. Germany’s had two massacres in the high school by students that beat Columbine….and they all have one thing in common, they drop out of life and immerse themselves in the sickest video games. They are taught to take pleasure from human death and suffering.”
“We’ve got the brain scans to show that the violent visual imagery that video games in particular put them in a constant fight or flight realm. The research is clear. Adults can handle it, kids can’t.”
He said studies have shown once the video games are removed from the equation, quality of life improves for those who aren’t playing them.
“Stanford Medical School pioneered turn off TV and especially video games for a week…cut violence in half, cut bullying in half and raised test scores,” said Grossman.
The Entertainment Consumer’s Association, the lobbying arm of the video game industry, disputes claims linking violent video games to shootings. They point to countries like the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea where violent video games are prevalent and gun violence is very low.