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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
There were two new school shooting incidents in the past two weeks. The first shooting occurred at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte, where two students were killed and four others were wounded. The second shooting took place at the STEM School Highlands Ranch near Denver, where two shooters killed one student and wounded eight others.
These latest incidents join a long list of active shootings that have caused the nation to again question our gun laws and how law enforcement and political leaders respond to these attacks.
Few gun laws have changed, but police response to these shooting certainly has improved since the horrific attack at Columbine High School in 1999 in Littleton, Colorado. It took the SWAT team 47 minutes to enter the building and five hours before law enforcement declared the school under control.
The emphasis now is on stopping the assailants as quickly as possible, getting to victims faster and treating them sooner, and promptly notifying parents and other family members.
These emergency practices are also shaping public education in the United States in an intriguing way.
Major Events Disrupt Societal Equilibrium and Lead to Public Policy Changes
Public policy experts Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones applied the biological theory of punctuated equilibrium to political science and policy. They posited that political processes are generally characterized by stability and incrementalism, but occasionally these processes produce large-scale departures from the norm. When a major event happens, such as 9/11, the equilibrium is disturbed and society will dramatically alter its policies. Their argument has had a large impact on political science and the social understanding of policy development.
In many ways, these shootings serve as the punctuations in policy, because elementary and high school education is changing and schools are coming up with new ways to handle emergencies. School shootings are also making parents rethink whether they want to send their children to public schools.
Homeschooling and Reshaping American Education
According to an article in Forbes last year by Mike McShane, “Homeschooling is on the rise in America.” McShane cites EdChoice’s 2017 Schooling in America – a survey which stated that ‘violence/safety’ was the number-one reason parents chose to homeschool their children. Sadly, school shootings are a major factor in the growing prevalence of distance learning and homeschooling education in the United States.