On December 14, gunman Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Since the unthinkable tragedy took place, protecting our students has become a top priority for parents, educators, and politicians.
President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a task force on school safety with the goal of being able to give strong recommendations by the State of the Union address in late January. In Connecticut, Governor Dannel P. Malloy also announced the formation of a task force. The expert panel will review current policy and make the necessary changes in the areas of school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention.
Other ideas to strengthen school safety have been suggested, but they have not yet panned out.
They include the Save our Students Act, proposed by California Senator Barbara Boxer a few days after the Newtown shooting. The bill died on the floor and is now with the Senate Armed Services Committee. If it had passed, it would have increased funding for the Secure Our Schools program from $30 to $50 million dollars. The funds would have gone to additional tip lines and surveillance equipment. It would also have secured entries to schools and authorized the National Guard to respond to incidents of violence.
The NRA recommended putting police officers at each school, while Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne suggested arming principals, an idea inspired by the Pearl High shooting in 1997.
The United States is not the only country that has experienced violence inside its schools. On the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting, Min Yongjun wounded 23 children with a knife at Chenpeng village primary school. In 2010, China experienced five unrelated school attacks over the course of 50 days.
Because of attacks like these, China and many other countries around the world are paying closer attention to school safety. Click through the gallery to see the strategies different countries are taking to prevent violence in schools.
Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters