In the wake of incidents such as the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th, our nation – including New Hampshire – has begun to put more emphasis on ways to increase safety in schools. As was recently reported in the Union Leader, the Executive Council increased NH’s budget for security upgrades in schools by $10 million, bringing the total to $30 million. This money will go towards things like metal detectors, window safety film, and security cameras.
As a rising high school senior myself, I am doubtless that this decision is a very strong first step. However, this issue is not one that can simply be solved by investing in extra security measures in school. It is a multifaceted, systemic issue that stems largely from a lack of positive school climate and awareness of mental health issues in children and adolescents. To avoid the security measures being needed in the first place, schools should adopt a curriculum (such as multi-tiered systems of support for behavior [MTSS-B]) that encourages self-care, introspection, and empathy in all students from a very young age.
Implementations of preventative programs would be a massive help in reducing tragedies such as these mass shootings or children driven to suicide by bullying, such as the 11-year-old girl from Manchester who took her life last month. I urge our politicians and educators to push for this imperative change in curriculum for the sake of a safe and healthy learning environment for all students.