School safety experts agree that there is no perfect solution to preventing school violence, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The good news is that schools are actually getting much better at preventing violence, but the bad news is we will always have incidents that slip through the cracks because you are dealing with human behavior,” said Kenneth Trump of National School Safety and Security Services in Cleveland. After last week’s mass stabbings at Franklin Regional High School, there have been calls for metal detectors and increased physical security in schools and questions about how school violence continues in spite of security measures and better training. Most schools do not have metal detectors, and experts say they represent a simplistic fix that do not address a complex problem. “More than metal detectors, you need mental detectors,” Trump said.
Physical security measures can only go so far if mental health supports are not in place to help students and teachers deal with the problems that are brought into the schools. “We are seeing a lot more kids in crisis and families with problems in the schools,” Bethel Park school police Officer James Modrak said. “There are a lot more issues at home. More single-parent households. There’s a lot of changes in morality and how we approach things.” “One of the answers to preventing school violence lies in personal communication with school staff,” said Bill Bond, a school safety specialist for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, who was the principal of Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., in 1997, when a 14-year-old boy shot and killed three students and injured five others. Heath High School did not have a metal detector at the time and still doesn’t. Bond said the logic of a metal detector is that it will stop someone who is afraid of getting caught. But, he said, individuals planning mass attacks expect to get caught.