Moving Beyond Thoughts & Prayers

School shootings in the United States have increased dramatically since the 1980s, with more than four times the number of attacks occurring during this decade. Deaths from these shootings hav…

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While there’s no known government plan to round up and take everyone’s guns, there are legal means by which people can have their gun rights restricted, or have their guns seized if they’re tied to a crime.

With less than two months remaining on the legislative calendar, lawmakers are working on package of reforms driven by the horrors of last month’s school shooting in Florida.

In the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead, the way mental illness is treated has seen renewed attention across the country, including in South Carolina.

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School shooting related resources

Schools across the Lakelands provide resources for any student who wants to speak to a counselor to help work through any troubles they’re facing.

Greenwood County School District 50 has eight school psychologists that work alongside principals for academic intervention and evaluations, alongside student mental health concerns. D52 has a part-time psychologist and a full-time counselor with the Beckman Center for Mental Health Services who is available when needed, as does McCormick County School District.

Abbeville County School District uses school resource officers, psychologists, mental health counselors and school counselors to aid students, and has offered training to hundreds of people through a Mental Health First Aid grant.

While Greenwood Christian School and Palmetto Christian Academy don’t have psychologists on staff, both schools have staff and administrators willing to listen to and work with students. Palmetto offers small-group environments for middle and high school students to encourage each other and work directly with advisers.

Lander University provides free, confidential counseling services for students, with the Office of Counseling Services housed in the college’s Wellness Center. To access a counselor, students can call 864-388-8885 for an appointment, or walk in to schedule one or be seen in case of an emergency. For after-hours concerns, counselors can be reached on call by calling the campus police department.

Lander students can also report troubling behavior on an online “student concern” form, or for immediate concerns can contact any faculty or staff member, or use on-campus emergency phones that serve as direct lines to campus police.

There are apps and hotlines to help students, staff and parents report unsafe activity or behavior, but anyone who knows or suspects someone is planning an act of violence should call 911. Apps such as LiveSafe provide a platform for people to communicate about community safety, and send out alerts of possible dangers, while hotlines like the Safe School Helpline and WeTip are targeted specifically at schools.

To reach the Safe School Helpline, call 800-325-4381, or visit schoolhelpline.com. WeTip’s anonymous tip line can be reached at 1-800-78-CRIME, and for more information, visit wetip.com.

For people seeking resources to better know how to respond if they’re ever in an active-shooter situation, the Alice Training Institute offers training options at alicetraining.com. People can learn about the techniques promoted by many law enforcement agencies and developed by the ALERRT Center at Texas State University at avoiddenydefend.org.