School Gun Safety

Is Bingham at Risk?


Photo by Photo courtesy of McCade Gordon

Patrol cars parked outside Bingham to ensure safety.

Columbine High School. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook Elementary.

While almost every American has heard of these shootings, schools tend to be some of the safest places in America.

According to statistics compiled by the FBI, the Center for Disease Control and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, you are more likely to be killed in your own home than in school.

Despite common misgivings, school violence is actually in decline. The problem is that the few acts of school violence that do occur are so heavily publicized that students are instilled with an inflated fear for their safety.

Recently, a student at Bingham High School posted comments containing threats against the school on Twitter. A female student from Bingham called the local authorities and reported him. Officers were able to take the student into custody within hours of her call. The next day, police were sent to Bingham to patrol and continued to do so for several days after.

“If that student hadn’t reported the comments so soon, we would have had to put the entire school into lockdown the next day for at least four hours,” said Detective Scott Russell, Bingham’s resource officer. According to Russell, in 80% of school shootings, someone knew or someone had heard a threat and didn’t do anything about it. Many schools have this problem because signs of violence appear on social media, where the administration cannot keep track of them.

“Kids are the eyes and ears of social media,” said Dr. Rich Price, vice-principal at Bingham. “You guys can catch things way before we can.”

There are over 2500 eyes and ears milling around Bingham High School which Detective Russell believes is better than having 2500 security cameras stationed around the school. That being said, those schools with tragedies had at least that many.

“Anything that can happen at any other school in the nation could happen at [Bingham] for good or for bad,” said Price. “If you had asked Sandy Hook a week before if they thought they were safe, the answer undoubtedly would have been yes.”

In the most bloody and well-known school shootings in history, the shooters were the age of high school students or a little older. Among these are the Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Massacres. Each perpetrator had given hint in their journals, video recordings, blog posts, etc. that they wanted to out-perform another well-publicized perpetrator. The shooters at Columbine wanted to upstage the Oklahoma City bomber. The shooters at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and countless others were hoping to “pull a Columbine.”

The chief executive of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, has suggested that armed guards be stationed in schools across America.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre stated in a press conference held after the incident at Sandy Hook.

The NRA has also suggested that teachers carry guns to protect their students. Opponents of these suggestions say that this would most likely end in the same result as a child finding a gun in their home and creating an accident.

The NRA also fails to mention that Columbine High School had two armed guards on duty that fateful day in 1999, with one on his lunch break in his patrol car and the other changing the tapes for the security cameras in a back room at the time of the incident.

If schools want to find the most useful information in preventing a school shooting, look no further than our neighboring state Colorado, epicenter of school violence and gun violence in general. According to Detective Russell, nearly all new policies and drill methods have come from Colorado schools and policemen supplying data and advice on their strong and weak points in an incident.

“[Colorado] sends their police teams here to train us on what to do,” said Russell.

In light of recent events, as well as the information coming from Colorado, schools are perfecting the lockdown drill and introducing drills such as the lockout and active shooter drills. The lockdown drill is the standard drill we have been practicing for years, where students are locked in a dark, silent classroom until told to do otherwise.

The lockout drill is a drill in which all the outer doors are locked so no one can enter or exit the building, but students are allowed passage through the building because any potential threat is outside.

The active shooter drill is a controversial practice in which gore is simulated with copious amounts of stage make-up and a guy dresses up as a shooter with blanks in a gun. They are intended to teach staff and students what to do when confronted with the actual situation, but opponents say the action is a little too real, which has forced many schools to perform the drill while students are not present.

Statistically and procedurally, Bingham High is a very safe school. Realistically, Bingham is only as safe as its student body makes it. Any signs of danger, however, are encouraged to be reported.

Do you think Bingham is safe? Comment below, let us know.  If you want updates to the Bingham Prospector Online, subscribe with your email.