When first-graders at at a Tennessee elementary school talked about the fatal Pennsylvania school shooting one boy said his parents had a gun at home. The next day, he brought a loaded .38-caliber pistol with him, tucked in his backpack, says the Tennessean. “He just didn’t have enough knowledge because of his age to know that he was putting people at risk,” said the principal.
Nashville schools have tripled school searches this year, while fast-growing districts outside of Nashville are designing structures with built-in security to deter possible campus violence. One county’s schools were “locked down” after the recent school shootings in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Missouri. Exterior doors were locked, and staff members were asking for photo identification at the entrance to schools. David Burton, director of safety for Wilson County schools, said the district has security officers, conflict mediation counselors, a protocol for visitors, and a system that encourages students and parents to report suspicious activities, even those that occur on Web sites like Myspace.com. “I don’t think any school system in the country, or the world for that matter, can say they can prevent something like that from happening,” said Burton, a former police officer.