Historically School Shootings Surge in April
Historically, records show an influx of school shootings occur in the month of April prompting authorities and educators nationwide to re-evaluate their disaster preparedness plans. Experts tracking school shooting incidents theorize that many such disasters occur in April because some armed intruders want to copy or venerate what other shooters have previously done, or memorialize a date in history. Tragic school shootings that have occurred in April include:
- Parker Middle School shootings - April 24, 1998
- Columbine shootings - April 20, 1999
- Virginia Tech shootings - April 16, 2007
- Oikos University shootings - April 2, 2012
Many schools take this time to conduct preparedness/lockdown drills so students and faculty are prepared for an active shooter situation. Schools are also communicating with parents about their disaster plans in the event of an emergency. It is heartbreaking to contemplate kids in elementary school practicing how to hide from an armed gunman, but unfortunately today’s society dictates the importance of preparing for the unexpected. Tragically, the rate of mass shootings in the U.S. has tripled since 2011 and seemingly occur almost every week. It is not a matter of if, but when the next shooting will happen at a school, a church or office building.
The below basic disaster preparedness guidelines can be adapted for any organization:
- Form a planning committee
- Outline objectives for reacting to incidents
- Specify step-by-step response procedures
- Designate “safe rooms” if possible
- Publish plans online or email to all people who need to know
- Acquire lockdown survival kits and make them accessible in key locations.
The days between April 14th and 20th are filled with historic tragedies that prompt people and organizations to be wary of potential disasters. These include the fatal shooting of Abraham Lincoln, the San Francisco earthquake that killed 3,000 people and the sinking of the Titanic. Other disasters that have occurred in April include the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings and the Oklahoma City bombings. It is believed that the birthday of Adolph Hitler on April 20 sometimes prompts extremists to consider violent action or terrorist acts. We must all work together to make sure that our families, workplaces and classrooms are sufficiently prepared so that when the worst does happen, we will be “prepared, not scared.”