Today’s shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School in Champaign County wasn’t any more likely to happen because of the school’s rural setting, says Ohio-based school security expert Ken Trump.
The shooting, which wounded one student this morning, remains under investigation but a suspect is in custody, according to local county sheriff deputies. The school building and campus is secure and classes have been cancelled, according to school officials.
Trump, who is president of National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based national consulting firm specializing in school security, said the general perception that rural populations, which tend to have greater acceptance and access to firearms, are more prone to this type of school violence than any other communities is not true.
“Guns are easily accessible to kids in urban, suburban and rural areas. A kid in the inner city or suburbs can get their hands on a gun just as can a kid in a rural setting,” said Trump, whose research in recent years have shown Ohio schools have more incidents of violence threats than almost all other states.
“We have been seeing an anecdotal uptick in gun-related school incidents in the headlines the past year or two. We know that it really doesn’t make a difference whether we are talking about rural, suburban or urban school settings: Kids have access to gun and one gun in the hands of a student in school is one too many,” Trump said.
“School leaders must be proactive and vigilant with education, awareness and preparedness measures addressing weapons in schools. This includes having candid conversations with kids about the life threatening, and life changing, consequences of bringing guns and any other weapons to schools,” he said.
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