EdD Student Addresses Controversial School Safety Initiatives

In the wake of tragic shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and other schools, there has been a profusion of policy suggestions across the nation, including arming teachers, banning assault rifles, raising the legal age for gun ownership, and repealing the Second Amendment.

To improve school safety, two rural North Carolina districts are planning to have former law enforcement or military police officers serve as “armed volunteers” at schools. Louisiana legislators are also considering allowing active and retired “peace officers” to serve as volunteer school guards. A rural school district in Pennsylvania is even arming teachers and students with buckets of rocks as a last resort in the event of an active shooter.

In recent media coverage, Kenneth S. Trump, Johns Hopkins School of Education doctoral student (EdD, 2017) and president of the Cleveland-based National School Safety and Security Services, has characterized many such initiatives as examples of politicians trying to show they are doing something useful after a school shooting. A sought-after expert whose dissertation focuses on K-12 school-safety leadership and communications, Trump brings 30 years of experience to the national discussion, arguing for evidence-based measures.

In the February 15 Politifact.com article, “How do we prevent school shootings?” for example, he said, “We learn more about weapons in school from kids who come forward and tell an adult they trust.” In this and a number of other recent pieces, Trump makes the case for effective training among school personnel, bringing mental health services into better collaboration with threat assessment so that schools can benefit from a well-informed, highly alert staff and student body.