It’s graduation time for high-schoolers and college students alike. The streets here are awash in young people in suits, prom dresses, and graduation garb. I love to see those fresh faces full of excitement, and a little apprehension, about the future. But it is not lost on me that, in response to recent events, while so many young people are experiencing this important rite of passage, many of us are having —or not having— difficult conversations about school safety. For anyone avoiding the conversation, it might help to know what the research about gun violence in schools is telling us. The current debate around school safety is centered on mass shootings. But research to be published later this year by Professor James Alan Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel shows that mass school shootings are rare events. They have found that, on average, mass murders in the U.S. occur between 20 and 30 times per year while, on average, only about one of those incidents takes place at a school.
A 17-year-old inventor in Boulder, CO, will receive a $50,000 grant to help develop a biometric sensor designed to prevent unauthorized people from firing guns. “I’ve been interested in technology for as long as I can remember,” Kai Kloepfer said. “After the mass shooting in the movie theater in Aurora in 2012, I started thinking about the role technology could play in preventing accidents and death related to firearms. The idea actually came to me in a dream and I have been working since then to make it a reality.”