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Talk on School Violence Fifteen Years After Columbine

Lynn Addington, an associate professor in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology, presented the talk, “Cops, Cameras and Students Under Surveillance: The Long-term Effects of Columbine and Deadly School Violence," as part of Georgia Southern University's 2nd Annual Criminal Justice Lecture on April 10.

Addington said that while the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 were not the first act of deadly school violence in the United States, the incident constituted a cultural shift in how the public viewed school violence.

“This change occurred largely due to the pervasive and graphic media coverage spurred by cable news channels and the emerging role of the Internet as a news source,” she said.

The fear and concern generated by Columbine, she said, prompted a rash of demands for greater safety, including the use of visible security measures in public schools. However, relatively little is known even now, she said, about the use of school security across grade levels or about schools that opt to use particular measures, such as cameras or metal detectors.

“Critics argue the overzealous use of security measures in relatively safe schools can negatively impact students and their school environment,” said Addington. “In contrast, advocates point to the necessity of these same measures in troubled schools struggling with serious violence.”