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The Minnesota Daily

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The Minnesota Daily

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The Minnesota Daily

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Boru: Our schools are becoming prisons

Installing metal detectors only adds to the problem.

School shootings in the United States are an epidemic. Unless we pluck this disease out by its roots, band-aiding it will just tear it open.

There have been 27 school shootings so far in 2022. These tragedies seem common, and yet we are always surprised to hear of yet another mass shooting. I pray we don’t get desensitized to human lives being reduced to nothing by gun violence.

It’s imperative that we take action to avoid future violence, but some proposed solutions are more productive than others. Metal detectors can’t — and don’t — prevent school shootings. Instead, they have a negative impact on students and staff. Imagine going to school where the norm is passing through metal detector doors, with armed officers and cameras at every corner. I would not be able to learn anything at all from fear and anxiety — common feelings among students from such schools. This fear could then lead to more violence because militarized learning environments can make school feel like a prison.

There are no studies that suggest metal detector doors actually work. Regardless, they are more prevalent in urban schools with greater populations of students of color.

A case from here in Minnesota demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these doors. In 2005, a student at Red Lake High School managed to shoot and kill the security guard operating his school’s metal detector. He was then able to walk directly through the metal detector with three weapons and kill seven people.

These upgrades and security equipment are not only counterproductive but expensive. We need to set our priorities straight.

Instead of resorting to such costly and ineffective techniques, we should study the psychology of these shooters and learn the tell-tale signs of future shooters in order to provide help and intervention for students.

Our students need help and counseling. They need to feel like they have a second family at school that takes care of them and cares about their well-being. If we treat them like prisoners, we will have students running around with semi-automatics looking to settle a score.

Maybe the students that commit these acts feel ignored, mistreated and hated, and that becomes a reason enough for them to arm up and take innocent lives.

We need to invest in our schools and build a stronger support system where all students — regardless of their home situations — can get the help they need.

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  • Timothy Boehmke
    Jul 8, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    Maybe the students that commit these acts feel ignored, mistreated and hated, and that becomes a reason enough for them to arm up and take innocent lives.

    This is it. I grew up in a broken home and suffered abuse for much of my childhood. That abuse affected my entire life, including how I interacted socially and in my classes, which led to me being friendless and possibly the most delinquent student in the entire school (it was a small town).
    I was incredibly privileged to have a few teachers at my school who took the time to hear me and see me, who treated me like a person and not just “that trouble kid”, which is probably the only thing that allowed me to get through that time.
    Later, all of that delinquency got me in more trouble, and it was, again, people who stopped to truly listen and accept me that helped me accept myself, which is how I avoided becoming a statistic in a prison or worse.

    The phrase “Everyone is fighting a war that you know nothing about” is incredibly accurate. There are no happy kids on this planet who consider killing their peers. There are no happy people who feel like they absolutely have to be in a gang to survive. There are no happy people who feel like their only escape is to destroy themselves and/or others.

    But this happiness, the thing required for the health and wellness of our species, has been and is being prevented and destroyed by so many systemic and oppressive forces that, at least for some people, even the benefit of being seen, heard, and understood isn’t enough.

    Our schools are turning into prisons, Ms. Boru, you are correct. This is not the problem, however, only another symptom. As long as hatred, prejudice, and greed are allowed to make the rules governing this state and country, no lasting change can be had. That’s why we can’t just get “help and counseling” for our students…instead, we need to change our own hearts and minds, become better human beings ourselves through hard work and persistent self-education, so that we may become bastions of acceptance and compassion. Each of us needs to be able to identify injustice when we see it and stand against it.

    Until we are willing to fight, both external forces and our own internal apathy, for what is good and right, those forces will continue to do whatever they wish for their own benefit, and people will suffer.

    Be kind and compassionate whenever you possibly can, but absolutely uncompromising in the face of injustice.