Finnish School Shootings Raise Questions More Than Answers
The Finnish nation is still attempting to make sense of what transpired in the recent shooting of ten students by Matti Saari. A task force is engaged in a wide variety of tasks ranging from developing counseling programs for schools to assist students in coping with the second school shooting within a year as well as uncovering the actual events that occurred. It is now evident, Saari was talking on the phone even as he fired at his fellow students. Finnish educators note both shootings involved, in one way or the other, a cry for attention by two boys who outwardly appeared to have stable relations in school. The Finnish media in dealing with the shootings, commonly uses words such as sorrow, shock, fear, tragedy, evil, caring and inequity as they struggle for meaning.
Health and Social Services Minister Paula Risikko told a news conference there is need for additional programs that can assist students dealing with depression. Even as she spoke, President Tarja Halonen expressed a sense of personal feelings of shock that made difficult the task of finding an explanation. She made clear it is still too early to place blame over the fact Saari was allowed by the police to walk out of the police station the day before the shooting in possession of his weapon of death.
There is now considerable discussion among educators and political leaders in Finland as to whether the American policy should be adopted which has strict controls over what students can bring into a school and makes everyone go through detectors. It is interesting that in my recent work in the New York area, virtually all New York City public schools had police and metal detectors in place, but few suburban schools had such procedures. Ironically, most shootings occur in suburban and rural areas.
Tags: Violence in Schools
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