It’s been almost a year now. What have we learned since? What have we done since?
Just a few days short of one year ago, a mentally ill young man named Adam Lanza blasted his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. In less time than it takes some people to take a shower, he killed 27 human beings.
In the time since, other school shootings have happened: in Ohio, California, Nevada, Pittsburgh and elsewhere.
So, a year later, what have we learned? What have we done?
Well, Newtown surely did not fuel the surge in gun-control laws some thought it would. That outcome was as easy to predict as it was, in a way, hard to fathom.
The horror did spawn some chatter about the tattered state of our behavioral health system in America, but to no gream impact.
And then there’s this question that has hung in the air for the last 12 months: What makes a school safe?
That’s the topic into which we at WHYY have decided to drill deeper as our way of commemorating the Newtown anniversary.
This coming Saturday, we’re convening a community forum titled: What Makes Schools Safe?
You are invited. The event is free. It will run from 9 a.m. to noon at Arsht Hall, on the Wilmington campus of the University of Delaware. Here’s where to sign up. If you go, you’ll hear from three experts on issues of school safety who represent three distinct viewpoints.
One will argue that the best way to limit the danger of another Newtown is to make sure that adults in or near the schools can bring swiftly to the crisis scene firepower that is superior to that of the gunman.
Another will argue that changes in school design and training of school staff offer the best chance of creating havens within a school.
A third will contend that the focus on rare acts of gun carnage distracts from the real and everyday issues of school violence: bullying, student fights and other violations of community. Which, by the way, plant the seeds of later school shootings.
The forum is designed so that you’ll have plenty of time to discuss your own views and reactions with the others in attendance. The format has been designed and will be led by the Penn Project for Civic Engagement, our usual partners in civic dialogue events.
We know this is a tough topic to discuss, and the timing falls inside a busy season.
But we couldn’t let this anniversary pass without doing something to help our region learn more and do more in response to Newtown.
Please join us Saturday morning if you can.