Dean Writes Op-ed on Effectively Confronting School Shootings

March 7, 2018
Thomas Blomberg

College of Criminology and Criminal Justice Dean and Sheldon L. Messinger Professor of Criminology Thomas Blomberg recently wrote an op-ed in response to February’s Parkland school shooting. The opinion article was published by the Sun Sentinel.

In his article, Dr. Blomberg explained, “Gun reform is only a part of the necessary comprehensive strategy that will be required to effectively confront school shootings.”

He continued, “In considering school shootings, there are two major interrelated components. First, there are motivated offenders. Second, there are vulnerable targets.”

To address the motivated offenders, Dr. Blomberg called for training, reporting, and protocol. He said, “All students, educators, and the public need continuing education on warning signs of potential violent behavior. We also need to be fully aware of the importance of reporting suspicious behavior and/or threats to school authorities. In turn, school authorities need to review, refine, and follow reporting protocols.”

Dr. Blomberg also explained the importance of addressing physical design of schools as a means to prevent school shootings. He explained that schools are “soft targets” – not physically designed  to prevent shootings on their grounds and therefore are selected by criminal offenders as a path of least resistance.

He said, “This needs to change as a part of a comprehensive prevention strategy. Architectural design, electronic fencing, video surveillance, limited school entry/exit points, metal detectors, and security doors for classrooms are just some possibilities that can transform our schools into harder targets for motivated offenders. The costs of reducing school vulnerability will be significant, but no investment is too high to better protect the lives of our students.”

Dr. Blomberg serves as Dean of the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Executive Director of the Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research. He is a well-published expert in numerous fields of criminology including Criminological Research and Public Policy; Delinquency, Education, and Crime Desistance; Penology and Social Control; and Victim Services.

To read the full op-ed visit the Sun Sentinel website.