Could Ohio shootings have been prevented?
The individual who opened fire at Chardon (Ohio) High School, killing three classmates and wounding two others, has been described by fellow students as "an outcast who had been bullied" The incident appears to be the latest in a string of school shootings committed by bullied students.
Douglas Abrams, associate professor of law at the University of Missouri. Columbia, believes that public schools need to implement more effective antibullying prevention programs. "Prevention programs have been successful. The most important reason for them is to spare millions of bullied schoolchildren the emotional and physical pain that impedes learning; we also cannot ignore evidence of random, deadly violence by bullied students who strike back."
Abrams says that, showy after the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School, the Secret Service and the Department of Education studied Columbine and 36 other school shootings since 1974. The two agencies found that nearly all of the shooters had "experienced bullying and harassment that was long-standing and severe" and which "approached torment."
The report explains that bullying prevention programs should concern all parents because victims bent on revenge may attack at random and often target more than their tormenters. "Bullying has been called a serious public health problem by the American Medical Association, Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institutes of Health," Abrams points out.
"These latest Ohio shootings help illustrate why prevention programs are so important. Prosecuting the shooter does not protect the victims, who have already been injured or killed. By reducing bullying by as much as 50%, successful programs can spare many innocent victims."