Conversation on school shootings, warning signs resurfaces in wake of Santa Clarita tragedy

In wake of the deadly shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, the question of how to prevent such tragedies has resurfaced. Communities, parents and law enforcement agencies nationwide are aggressively looking for ways to prevent school violence.

Exactly one week before a 16-year-old pulled a gun from his backpack and shot five of his classmates, the U.S. Secret Service released the findings of extensive research of dozens of school shootings from 2008 to 2017.

The 59-page report makes it clear there is no single profile of a student attacker but there are commonalities.

"There were significant stressors that happened to the student and that could be arguments with peers, problems with a relationship, fights at home, financial issues with their parents, and in almost every case there was significant issues in terms of disciplinary record with the student at school," said Special Agent Jesse Baker, head of the Secret Service Los Angeles field office.

The National Association of School Resource Officers recently went to the drawing board for ways to engage parents.

"We are training our teachers. We are training our school administrators. We are training our law enforcement. But we have not engaged in a deeper-rooted place to address our parents," said Sgt. Rudy Perez of the Los Angeles School Police Department.

Sgt. Perez stressed the importance of social media activity.

"They begin to go onto the website and post some pictures that are showing some serious violent acts. I always tell parents, 'You have to have that digital citizenship around them. You have to know what they're posting'," he added.

Perez said the phrase "see something, say something" really matters.

"We receive reports from students saying, 'Hey, somebody's brought a gun.' And we've gone to that location, conducted a search, and we've recovered a weapon."

The NASRO plans on holding workshops around the nation to educate and engage communities.

"If you really care and you want to be part of these answers here, start mentoring, start caring for kids at home," Sgt. Perez said.

Special Agent Baker encouraged school districts to consider attending a Dec. 5 event focused on education on this issue. Those interested can call (213) 894-4830.
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