school_shooting1212aIt is a morning like any other. A mother wakes up, gets ready for the day, and goes downstairs to eat breakfast with her family. She then takes her children to school and heads off to work. She cannot help to wonder if her children will be safe. Now imagine this, a teenage girl, “riddled” with 34 gunshots, bleeding and praying for God to not let her die. Her attacker right by her side, his attention focused on her as he reloads his gun. This horrifying incident happened to Valeen Schnurr on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School(Cullen). School shootings are a problem that happens much too often. According to Everytown, a gun control advocacy group, there has been 290 school shootings since 2013(290). It is not just the older children’s lives in danger. A timeline of deadly school shootings since 1999 constructed by USA Today, shows a range of ages in the victims. One of the examples is the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Twenty-six innocent people lost their lives in that school on December 14, 2012. Twenty of those people were first graders(Grisham). If it were not as easy as to just walk on to school grounds with a firearm, many injuries and deaths could have been prevented. If something is not done, how many more children will die? All schools should take measures to lessen the chance of a school shooting. Fortifying schools will help make them a safer place for children.


To fortify the schools, the perimeters should be lined with a fence. This makes the only entrances in the chosen locations with walk-through metal detectors in place. Students and employees of the school must walk through them to be scanned for a gun. There should be a male and a female monitor at the entrance. If an alarm sounds, that person should be pulled aside and one of the monitors should scan that person with a hand-held metal detector wand. The bags and person should be searched as needed. One armed guard should be standing by during entrance as a precaution. After school has begun that guard will patrol the campus while classes are in session. Schools like these already exist in some places.

According to an article written on, “A 2000 study found in Chicago, metal detectors prevented 294 weapons, 15 of which were guns, from entering schools.” This shows that this strategy has prevented guns from entering school premises. In other areas, like New York City, the study showed “a deterrent effect because some students said they were less likely to bring guns to school.” Just the presence of these extra security measures may reduce the likelihood of someone attempting to bring a gun on campus. They do go on to tell that “In 2005, a teenager killed an unarmed security guard and passed through a metal detector at a high school” and ended up killing 6 people. The key word in that story is “unarmed”. If that security guard would have been carrying a weapon, this could have made the difference. Even with studies that show this can have beneficial results, it may still  raise many concerns, questions, or arguments from many different people.


Children may have mixed emotions about this. Some may feel safer, and some may feel like they are in a prison. Through several interviews in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, several students from Pius XI spoke about what they think on school violence. Examples of a few thoughts come from Robert Travis, 13, who says, “I’m afraid to go to school sometimes. I’m afraid that there will be a shooting at my school…” Lisa Vu, 18, states, “There’s nothing the school could do to create a safer environment that wouldn’t infringe on personal rights.”  Amanda Waldoch’s, 17, opinion is “I think schools should have metal detectors, and it should be harder for them to get into school without going through the detectors.” (Milwaukee). Another student named Nosym Tillmon, an 11th grader from Rochester, New York says, “Instead of making it feel like a safe environment, a home environment, it’s more of a ‘Jeez – why’ve – I – gotta -get – up – and – go – here’ environment.” He sums it up with “prison.” (Kenworthy). To help the children that do not see it as a positive environment, the counselors at the school can try to help with this by using cognitive-behavioral therapy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cognitive-behavioral therapy is defined as “A type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are changed in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or to treat mood disorders, such as depression.” They say, “It helps the child change negative thoughts into more positive, effective ways of thinking, leading to more effective behavior…” (Treatment). Emotions are not the only thing to consider.


Some may question what would happen during an emergency if the school perimeters are fenced. The Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association is an association with administrators, supervisors, and teachers who try to find ways to better the schools. They say fencing without gates may “…put students at risk by limiting access too strictly.” They suggest “lockable gates” to minimize problems(Hanover). School employees can have access to the keys. This enables students to get out and emergency personnel to get in by more than one location if need be. This may seem like a lot of change. A concern of cost may come to mind.


Although an exact cost cannot be given because it would vary according to the location and size of the schools and the supplies needed for each school, an idea can be grasped based on some sources that discuss pricing of materials needed. According to Mass Live, a news-based website, Michael White, the director from Security Detection for Boston and Springfield school districts, says that the average cost of a walk-through metal detector is $3500(Corcoran). The price of a hand-held metal detector wand sells at Target’s website for $34.99(Metal). The U.S. Department of Justice states that a walk-through metal detector would have to be replaced every ten years, possibly more, and a hand-held metal detector once every 5 years, possibly more(Green). The price of fencing depends on what type is wanted, and the perimeter size of the school. Remodeling Expense, a website that gives estimates for remodeling the inside and the outside of buildings, states that, depending on the fence, prices range from $18-$50 per linear foot including installation(Cost). Fence Authority, a fencing company that sells the material for fences and installs them as well, says a fence needs to be replaced every twenty to fifty years depending on what type of material the fence is made from. A weather resistant padlock can be found for as low as $25 at Master Lock, a company that sells locks(Proseries). As for the armed guard and the monitor employees at check-in, this would vary from state to state hourly pay. In California, the American Alert Patrol Services charge $22 an hour for an armed guard(American), and assuming the monitors would be paid minimum wage, it is $10.50 an hour(Minimum). This has the benefit of increasing employment as well. This may still not settle the question of cost completely. Some people may still wonder where the money will come from.


There should be a tax on junk food at the grocery stores. According to, a tax filing company, every state varies on different taxes. In the United States, twelve states tax junk food. Five of those states tax only soda, gum, candy, and some snack foods (Dunn). In the year 2009 Science News, a news-based website, says the U.S. spent $7.1 billion on potato chips(Raloff). Another website that writes articles about food, Fresh Plaza, says that price upped to $7.5 billion in the year 2015(Americans). Taking ice cream into consideration,, a company that monitors money brought in by different businesses, tells how in the year 2013, ice cream sales amounted to $13.7 billion, although they do say sales are dropping due to frozen yogurt sales(Vandermey). These prices just give an idea of how much money is spent on two of the junk food items that should be taxed. An exact price cannot be given due to the different percentages that states would choose, and the varying sales year by year. This would help pay for the cost of changing the security to the schools. Some buyers may argue this idea because they feel it will make them spend a lot more money when grocery shopping. The California State Board of Equalization states the sales tax in Yucaipa, California is 7.750%(Find). I have gone to the Stater Brothers grocery store in Yucaipa and a bag of Lay’s potato chips (7 ¾ ounces) sells for $3.29, when not on sale. Applying the tax to those chips, rounds down to $.25 per bag. A Stater Bro. brand container of ice cream (1.75 quarts) sells for $3.49, when not on sale. Applying the tax to that ice cream rounds down to $.27 per container. If one each were bought per shopping trip, that adds to less than one dollar.


Fortifying the schools will not ensure that the children are 100% safe but will greatly decrease the threat of school shootings. Valeen Schnurr’s attacker was sidetracked by a noise and left (Cullen). She was fortunate enough to make it out alive. This is not always the case. On that day at Columbine High School, twelve students and one teacher died, twenty more were injured(Grisham). What if just one child is traumatized from witnessing a school shooting? What if just one child is injured from a school shooting? What if just one child dies from a school shooting? What if that one child, was your child?  For just a matter of cents per junk food buy, many children’s lives could be saved.

Annotated Bibliography

Cullen, Dave. “Why Does the Columbine Myth About “Martyr” Cassie Bernall Persist?”. “New Republic”. New Republic, 16 Sep. 2015,

This is an article written by Dave Cullen. He is responding to Republican Rick Santorum who used the story of Cassie Bernall to defend Kim Davis (the county clerk who refused to marry gay couples). The story of Cassie Bernall was how when faced with death during the Columbine shooting, she held strong to her faith. Dave Cullen writes about how this is not what happened based on many eyewitnesses’ testimonies. I used this article to tell the story of Valeen Schnurr, one of the eyewitnesses, to show the severity of what happens inside a school during a shooting. I feel like this is a reliable source because Cullen received his information from FBI investigation and he is correcting his mistake that he reported before the FBI found it was not the correct story.

Green, Mary W. “The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools- A Guide for Schools and Law Enforcement Agencies”. “U.S. Department of Justice-Office of Justice Programs-National Institute of Justice”. Sep. 1999,

This is research written on keeping the schools safer. I used this for the information on how often a walk-through metal detector and hand-held metal detector would need to be replaced. I feel this source is reliable because it is government issued.

“Metal detectors hand-held”. 2018 target brands, Inc.,

This is a website for online shopping at Target. I used this to give an example of a hand-held metal detector cost. I feel this is a reliable source because Target is selling the item, so they would set their own price.

“American Alert Security Services”. “2018 American Alert Security Services.”

This is a website of a business that has security services. I used this to give an idea of how much an armed security guard costs per hour. I feel this is a reliable source because it is a business and they set their own prices.

“Minimum Wage”. “State of California- Department of Industrial Relations”. “CA.GOV”. “2018 State of California”, Dec. 2016,

This is a website that explains the labor laws in California. I used this to find the rate for minimum wage in California. I feel this is a reliable source because it is issued by the government.

Dunn, Jennifer. “Sales Tax by State: Are Grocery Items Taxable?”. “Tax Jar”. “2018 Tax Jar”, “TPS Unlimited, Inc.”, 1 Feb. 2018,

This is a tax website. It is a business to which people can go and inquire or get help with taxes. I used this to explain about the taxes on certain junk foods in the United States. I feel like this is a reliable source because it is a business that deals with taxes all the time, so I assume they would know about taxes.

Corcoran, Lindsay. “Metal detectors in our schools: How much do they cost?” “Mass Live”. 5 Jun. 2015,

This is a news article about school districts putting metal detectors in the schools. I used this to have the average range of the cost of a walk-through metal detector. I feel this is a reliable source because the author graduated from George Washington University with a degree in journalism. Her source was an employee from the school district.

Vandermey, Anne. “Do we still scream for ice cream?”. “Fortune”. 24 Jul. 2014,

This is a business article about the sales for ice cream in the year 2013. I used to show about how much the U.S. spends on ice cream in one year. I feel this is a reliable source because this is a business that monitors incoming money made by other businesses.

Raloff, Janet. “Potato Chips: A symptom of the U.S. R&D problem”. “Science News”. 23 Sep. 2010, -public/potato-chips-symptom-us-rd-problem.

This is a magazine article about how much money is spent on potato chips in the U.S. in the year 2009. I used this to show how much the U.S. spent on one form of junk food in a year. I do not know if this is a reliable source, so I used another source, Fresh Plaza, to back up that price.

“Americans spent $7.5 bln on potato chips in 2015”. “Fresh Plaza”. 17 Oct. 2016,

This is another article about money spent by U.S. on potato chips. I used this to show the price that the U.S. spent on one kind of junk food in a year’s time. I think this is reliable because it is a website that is based on writing about food. It also backs up the information from the other website I used, Science News, giving a general cost per year from the two.

“Should I Repair or Replace My Fence?” “The Fence Authority: Outdoor Living Experts”. Mar. 2017,

This is an article written about different problems for different fencing and whether one should repair or replace it. I used this to explain how often a fence would need to be replaced after it was installed. I feel this is a reliable source because it is a business that installs fencing, so they should be knowledgeable in that area.

“Cost of 6 Foot Privacy Fence”. “Remodeling Expense”. http://www.remodeling “”, 15 Jan. 2018,

This is an article that breaks down the cost of installing a new fence. I used this to show the price range of what a new fence would cost per linear foot with installation. I feel like this is a reliable source because it is a website that calculates any remodeling expense you want to know and bases that on your area, in turn they would need to know correct pricing.

Grisham, Lori, Lindsay Deutsch, Jessica Durando, USA Today Network. “Deadly School Shooting Since Columbine”. “USA Today”.

This is a timeline constructed of the deaths in school shootings sine 1999. I used this to tell how many people died in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting and in the Columbine High school shooting. I feel this is a reliable source because it had multiple authors and USA Today is a well-known news source.

“290 School Shootings in America Since 2013”. “Everytown”. “Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund”. 11 Feb. 2018.

This is a research page done to record all the school shootings in the U.S. since 2013. I used this to emphasize how school shootings are a problem and occur often. I feel this is a reliable source because for every shooting they put in the news source that provided the information.

“Hanover Research”. “School Fencing: Benefits and Disadvantages”. “Hanover Research”. Nov. 2013, page 15.

This is an article written by the WSSCA (Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association) about the pros and cons to putting fences around schools. I used this to show that a fence with only entrance/exit may be a problem. I feel this is a reliable source because it is a group of people who see first hand what kind of problems there are at schools.

“Proseries & Weather Built Padlocks”. “Master Lock”. “Master Lock Company LLC”,

This is a website of a lock company. I used this to give a price range of what a padlock would sell for. I feel like this is a reliable source because it is a business that makes and sells locks and they makes their own prices.

“Treatment for anxiety and depression”. “Children’s Mental Health”. “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”. “U.S. Department of Health & Human Services”. 23 Mar. 2017,

This is an article written about anxiety and depression in children. It explains symptoms, along with how to treat, manage, and prevent anxiety and depression. I used this to bring out cognitive-behavioral therapy and how it may help the children who would struggle with the changing of the school. I feel like this is a reliable source because it was government issued.

“Milwaukee Journal Sentinel”. “School Violence: How Safe Do You Feel?”. “Children in Urban America Project”. 4 May 1998,

This is an article written about children responding to violence in schools. I used this so I could give an idea about how children felt about violence in schools. I feel this is a reliable source because it is a .edu made by Marquette University and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Kenworthy, Josh. “When a high school seems like a prison”. “Equal Ed”. “The Christian Science Monitor”. 14 Oct. 2016,

This is an article written about how there is greater security in schools that contain a majority of students that are of another race than white. I used this to show that some children feel like they may be in a prison with security measures taken in schools. I feel like this is a reliable source because the author has a bachelor’s Degree in journalism from Monash University.

“Find a Sales and Use Tax Rate”. California State Board of Equalization”. 5 Oct. 2016,

This is a site to which you can type in an address and it will tell you what the tax rate percentage for that area is. I used this to find the percentage of tax in Yucaipa, Ca. to show what the tax would pay out on a bag of chips. I feel this is a reliable source because it is government issued.

Sherman, Amy. “How do we prevent school shooting?” “POLITIFACT: WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE.” “Tampa Bay Times,” Feb. 15 2018,

I used this article to show that schools with this method already in place, show beneficial results. I feel like this is a reliable source because Politifact won the Pulitzer Prize, and the writer of the article, Amy Sherman graduated with a degree in history from Macalester College.