Title

Why security measures won’t stop school shootings

Status

Faculty

School

School of Liberal Arts

Department

Sociology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-14-2018

Publication Title

The Conversation

Description

The Conversation, an academic and research driven news analysis portal, features a story that examines calls for increased security measures to prevent tragic incidents of school violence, such as the recent mass killings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The authors of the article “Why security measures won’t stop school shootings,” argue that rather than soley taking steps to fortify schools against gun violence through tougher security approaches, including armed educators, what is also needed is an educational policy response and analysis of how students experience school and the meaning that schools have in American life. Of important note, in their examination, the authors reference the academic research of Saint Mary’s Sociology Professor Robert Bulman.

“In research on American high schools, one finds the idea that American schools are intertwined with notions of “expressive individualism” – the idea that human beings should find out and be true to who they really are on the inside. Might this also contribute to school shootings? Suburban high schools, in particular, are seen by the middle class as places to accomplish expressive projects. Sociologist Robert Bulman points out, for example, how Hollywood films set in suburban settings focus on student journeys of self-discovery, while urban school films focus on heroic teachers and academic achievement. In the same vein, many suburban school shooters see what they are doing as acts of self-expression.”

The Conversation story gained wider distribution nationally, as it was picked up by Scientific American and the HowStuffWorks website .

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