After 17 people were killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL., many are asking how such shootings can be prevented. Although no answers to this problem are simple, Politifact News recently found experts and research that addressed many different ideas, from gun control to metal detectors.
One suggestion during this process was more mental health services. Mental health services can go hand in hand with threat assessment, a tool recommended by the FBI in 2000 as a way to prevent shootings. That process involves identifying students or other people who have threatened violence, assessing the seriousness of the threat, and then taking appropriate action, which can range from counseling to arrest.
Our very own School Psychology professor, Philip Lazarus, mentioned that the current ratio is about one school psychologist to 2,000 students- far above the recommended ratio.
“If you can intervene as early as possible and provide a ton of supports around these troubled youth, you can really prevent this from occurring,” said Lazarus, who has served on a team that responds to school shootings. Interventions need to be focused not on punishment, but on how to get troubled youth into counseling, he said.
To shed light on these topics, a group of FIU professors and practitioners recently came together for an interdisciplinary discussion, analyzing the numerous aspects intertwined with gun violence, from public policy and mental health to medicine and law enforcement.
Read the full article to learn more on some of the suggested solutions to this growing problem.