You Make a Difference! Our mission and operations are funded entirely by Patriots like you! Please support the 2022 Independence Day Campaign now.

Kay C. James / August 17, 2018

Stoneman Douglas at Six Months

It was six months ago but feels like just yesterday. On Feb. 14, a deranged teen attacked students and staff members at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17.

It was six months ago but feels like just yesterday. On Feb. 14, a deranged teen attacked students and staff members at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17.

Like millions of parents and grandparents across America, I was transfixed by the news that day, watching the coverage with horror. I grieved for those whose lives were lost and those they left behind. And I feared for my own school-age grandkids.

On Wednesday, Stoneman Douglas opened its doors once again to a new school year. Again, like mothers and grandmothers nationwide, I want to know if anything has changed over the last half year.

The intervening months have certainly been eventful for some of Stoneman Douglas’ students.  They marched in Washington, D.C., gave fiery speeches, and took a 20-state “Road to Change” bus tour to register voters and push for gun control. They rubbed shoulders with celebrities, gave hundreds of interviews, and made passionate appeals for gun control.

But as they settle back in at Parkland, will their school be any safer?

Fortunately, the answer appears to be “yes” — and it’s not because of any media-focused bus tour.

Instead, Broward County — like many other communities across America — has been working hard to improve school safety. Security upgrades at Stoneman Douglas include a new 12-foot security fence, improved classroom door locks, additional security guards, and continuous monitoring of the school’s video surveillance system. The school is even piloting the use of portable metal detectors.

None of these measures is as glamorous as a press conference with a movie star. But each will meaningfully improve school safety.

Of course, much more can and should be done. A good place to start is by taking action to prevent future tragedies by identifying and intervening with those who are likely to commit them.

I find it deeply disturbing that the Broward County school district reported no instances of bullying, harassment, battery, or trespassing at Stoneman Douglas for the entire 2016-17 school year. None.

That’s not just a problem — it’s a potential crisis. The Sun Sentinel reports that the school had many reportable incidents that year. But failure to report such incidents, as the paper observed, “mak[es] it impossible to spot a school’s trouble spots and inform parents about safety.”

Why is this so relevant? Because the Parkland attacker was himself the victim of reportedly vicious bullying. He was also the subject of dozens of tips made to local police and the FBI. But no one acted on that information — and then it was too late.

The “Road to Change” bus tour could have focused the nation’s attention on these issues. It could have called for schools’ safety improvements and proactive intervention for people like the Parkland attacker. Sadly, though, it seems to have had a very different objective.

According to the tour’s website, its objective was “to get young people educated, registered, and motivated to vote." It was, according to its own words, a political operation.

Political activism is fine, but to focus on politics instead of common-sense solutions for school safety simply isn’t.

Nor is focusing solely on guns. The Columbine attackers brought bombs to school. Last year, a Maryland girl was arrested for planning to blow up her classmates. And just weeks after the Parkland attack, an ISIS-inspired Utah teen brought a homemade bomb to school.

That’s why a holistic approach is needed. More secure schools. Better mental health services. A proactive response to bullying. And "red flag” laws to keep weapons away from those who pose a clear threat to themselves and others.

These are just a few of the common-sense solutions that can make schools safer. None of them has the flash and dazzle of a political bus tour. But that’s all the more reason for us to pursue them.

After all, our children deserve nothing less. It’s been six months since the Parkland tragedy — and they’re heading back to school NOW.

Republished from The Heritage Foundation.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.