Purdue researchers find ways to better protect students in school shootings

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INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2014) — Researchers at Purdue University are coming up with solutions to better protect students and faculty in the event of a school shooting.

Professor Eric Dietz, Director of Purdue’s Homeland Security Institute, spoke about the issue at the National Rifle’s Association Convention in Indianapolis Friday.

For the past year, Dietz and his students have used data from real-life events including the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary tragedies to analyze further. Research shows it takes, on average, 12 minutes, for police to respond to a school shooting in the United States.

Dietz said it’s the reason why every second counts.

They found adding one armed school resource office in school could reduce response times by 80-percent. Casualties dropped by nearly 70-percent.

Researchers also determined arming up to 10-percent of a school’s teachers and faculty could decrease casualties by 10-percent.

“We have to put everything on the table and try to get emotion out,” said Dietz. “We’re not looking to arm schools and we’re not trying to create gun fire fights in schools. We’re just looking at it with a police and science point-of-view and how we can benefit children in schools.”

State school leaders, however, believe having guns on campus are not practical, nor safe. Dietz said that issue will be the next part of his research.

“We do everything we can to protect our students, but in the event of something sudden, it’s just unpredictable. The risk is just too great,” said Teresa Meredith, Indiana State Teacher’s Association President. “You [would] have a situation where you have a weapon, potentially loaded weapon, around students who don’t know anything about safety.”

Meredith said more gun safety training is needed before there should be any conversation about gun policy.  She, however, believes securing more funding for school resource officers and mental health services are more important.