As of the start of the 2018-2019 school year, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act will be in-force in Florida. Specifically, at least one armed school security official must be present at all grade schools and a minimum of 1 guard per 1,000 students (along with numerous other reforms).
While that's the new mandate in Florida, schools across the country at all levels have been adding armed security to campuses as well.
According to the Pew Research Center:
- 48% of all schools now have armed security.
- That includes 36% of all grade schools and 65% of all secondary schools.
- Over the past decade, armed security on secondary school campuses has increased 12%.
- At the grade school level, it's up 70% and still growing.
- It's clear that it's become a high priority in districts across the country.
In part due to our proximity to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas and the South Florida political landscape generally, it's easy to think that students are generally interested in additional gun control above all else. That's not actually the case nationally. According to Pew's research of teens these are the priorities for safer schools:
#1: Preventing those with mental health issues from legally owning a firearm
#2: Improving mental health screening and treatment
#3: Metal detectors
#4: Additional gun control
#5: Allowing armed school staff
It's highly instructive that the top two concerns are, I believe rightfully, focused on the issues most often associated with those who'd carry out attacks. It's also notable that more teens believe metal detectors would be more effective than more gun control. And how about the fifth most common response being armed school staff. The point is that often the narrative that's most commonly advanced in the media, about what, to quote David Hogg, "the young people" want is really just one piece of the picture and not the primary concern. Once again, the most common form of bias is omition and we see that on display with this research as well.