You would think that with every incident of gun violence, there would be a push for policy.

Instead, there’s only been a growth in profiting.

In the wake of so many school shootings, security companies and defense associations have thoroughly increased their revenue after a boom in the industry. Instead of the demand in gun reform increasing, there’s only been a demand in security mechanisms for schools. While implemented with good intentions, the problem with these methods is that they do nothing in the long run, and only highlight the absence of appropriate policy changes.

An example of one of these roundabout solutions is the clear backpack, which caught the attention of many schools after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting back in February. The book bags were distributed soon after the massacre, and was implemented to expose any possible threats entering the school. Many school districts across the country showed interest in the bags, but students did not take lightly to the new security precautions.

 

Photo by Carmen Lo

Victims of the Parkland school shooting spoke out against the book bags, and attacked America’s unwillingness for change.

While students complained about the real problem, school systems argued that it would increase protection, when really, it would only be another obstacle for a shooter to get around. Also, companies that manufactured the bags experienced an influx of revenue that almost surely went unnoticed.

The clear book bags were only the beginning of the school shooting scams. Specially made door locks joined the market and school districts got their wallets ready.

These devices are available in all types of sizes for all types of doors, and even hold under intense stress. While they may prove useful in the event of a school shooting, it’s only a temporary fix that won’t be implemented in every single school district, leaving countless children unaccounted for. As the security companies count their profit, school systems that can’t fund the locks, classrooms that face lock malfunctions, and schools that simply don’t have them, are left to fend for themselves.

In addition to the door barricade devices, one of the most expensive forms of protection started gaining attention in a small town in Oklahoma. Ballistic shelters, both storm-proof and bulletproof, were placed in classrooms in both the elementary and middle school campuses. In the event of a Category 5 hurricane, the mini shelters can withstand serious wind gusts and rain. In the event of a school massacre, the shelters can be a possible safe haven made of ballistic steel.

Photo by Shelter In Place

In theory, these sound like a great idea for protecting students in the event of an emergency. However, these shelters cost $20,000, and take years to fund. For low-income school districts, and even middle-income ones, there’s no way to get one of these out into every classroom in every school. This costly solution does nothing to hide the fact that America should really be implementing policy change.

While school districts scramble for security methods, the cost of school security is steadily increasing without the general public noticing.

In 2017, sales of security equipment and services to the education sector hit $2.7 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2015, according to data from IHS Markit.

It’s absolutely terrifying how much money America’s school systems are willing to pay to temporarily provide safety to their students. What is equally terrifying, however, is the inability for policymakers to create change. It isn’t necessarily bad to carry out cautions measures, but to what end?

If this cycle of peak capitalism continues, America’s security corporations are only going to get wealthier, and our school systems are only going to get scarier.

Photo: Getty Images

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