Often times, after the identity of a mass shooter is revealed, people that know or have met the shooter will come forward and talk about their character and the warning signs they saw. One of the most prevalent people that talk about the warning signs are teachers. They often talk about how the people who have committed these crimes were students that acted out in class or didn't like to listen to authority. This raises the question: should schools be better prepared to deal with the warning signs of future shooters?
There have been a lot of ads that are aimed at exposing the warning signs of a shooter, but it feels like they're aimed more at students noticing the warning signs of other students, not teachers or administrators noticing the warning signs. While I do believe that students should be responsible for noticing the warning signs of a potential school shooter and to tell an administrator, what are they supposed to do after that? Students have no powers when it comes to actually act on the signs they see.
When administrators notice the signs, it is their job to intervene. Schools need to be better preparing their teachers with the skills and knowledge on how to deal with these students. In no way I am sitting here saying that it is teachers and administrators fault that students go on to be mass shooters, I am saying that if teachers and administrators were better prepared in identifying and acting on the signs of a shooter, that might may a difference.
The recent shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, prompted some high school coaches of the gunman, Ian David Long, to come forward and talk about the way the student behaved in high school. The track coach at Long's high school, Evie Cluke, said that Long was "volatile and intimidating" and that "repeated complaints to school administrators about his behavior failed to prompt any discipline." She then goes on to say that, when asked why he wanted to serve in the armed forces: "he said he wanted to be in the Marines because he wanted to go fight in the war for our country and he wanted to kill for our country."
The coach brought this up to administrators, but nothing was done, and this seems to be a pattern. Just attending a high school, you are able to see that administrators have no way of dealing with students that do not want to follow authority, let alone have the abilities to deal with the very real signs of a future mass shooter.
School officials need to be better trained in how to handle students that continue to act out or show warning signs. Also, there need to be outlets on school campuses that students can turn to. Students need people that are professionally trained to listen to their problems and help them through it. By increasing the know-how of school staff to better handle and diffuse possible future situations, there is the small, but likely, chance that we can slowly decrease the number of mass shooters.