The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

Failed prevention: The systemic failures that lend to school shootings

Paul Sancya
A mourner kneels at the memorial site for the victims of the Oxford school shooting, one of the deadliest in recent years. Measures are being taken to prevent similar events in the future.

School shootings have been the cause of innumerable fatalities in the United States since the 1900’s and many lives are impacted by the gunmen. Though new developments have been made in holding accountable those who are deemed responsible for allowing these shootings to occur.

A landmark court decision on Feb. 6 found Jennifer Crumbley guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the killings of four students for her involvement in the actions of her son Ethan Crumbley. The Michigan jury found that the mother held responsibility for not securing the firearm and ammunition used as well as failing to aid his deteriorating mental health, which led to the death of four students at Oxford High School in 2021. 

James Crumbley, the father, was found guilty on the same charges as his wife on March 13.

The verdicts are the first of their kind to find parents responsible for a child carrying out a school shooting signifying a change in the way responsibility is placed surrounding these mass shootings. A new Michigan law on gun safety made for the basis of the case. The law defines the responsibility of people to secure firearms in their household when minors are present amongst other regulations. 

However parents of the perpetrators are not the only ones being held accountable. With the Uvalde school shooting on May 24, 2022, which took the lives of nineteen children and two teachers, came heated discussion on the reaction of first responders at the scene. Video evidence captured in the hallways of Robb Elementary show hesitancy from the police force to advance towards the gunman. 

The same police officers claimed that their reluctance came from their assumption that no students were present due to the lack of any screaming. Students at the school later voiced that they were instructed not to make any noise in the event of a school shooting. 

ALICE, or Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, is a popular training method for students and staff at schools. However the effectiveness of the training largely depends on emergency response. First responders without proper instruction and training on how to handle mass shooting scenarios are likely to be unaware of how school attendees are taught to respond. 

Issues with the emergency response don’t stop at law enforcement. Miscommunications with parents by hospital staff and other first responders led some to fear that their children died when they did not, and others to believe that their children had survived when they did not. Wounded children were placed in school buses while deceased victims were placed in ambulances. 

The failures with the response that saw at least 380 officers from local, state, and federal agencies have been documented in an investigation by the Department of Justice. 


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