As school officials in Cleveland revise their security plans after a shooting rampage by a 14-year-old gunman, professionals who study youth violence said the solution is simple: Pay attention to threatening behavior and talk.
A week before Asa Coon wounded four people and fatally shot himself at SuccessTech Academy in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday, he had threatened to blow up the school and stab students, said Doneisha LeVert, 14.
Fortifying schools with metal detectors, security guards and surveillance cameras doesn’t guarantee that a gunman will be kept out, criminologists and educators said. There were no metal detectors at SuccessTech on Wednesday.
The experts said educators should learn a key lesson from the more than two dozen school shootings since Columbine in 1999: Troubled teens who plan attacks often warn of their intentions. Schools should teach staff and students to recognize and report threats, and require they be investigated, they said.