S.T.O.P. school violence

As much as we might hope and pray an easy answer could be found to preventing mass killings in our schools, it will not happen. Tackling the threat will require real, thoughtful effort.

Legislation introduced recently by a bipartisan coalition of 25 U.S. senators led by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., hopes to address this most-pressing issue. It’s about time lawmakers have stopped talking and begun doing something to protect our children.

The coalition has proposed the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018, or S.T.O.P. The plan would provide up to $100 million annually for the next decade to fund a grassroots initiative against school violence.

Among the bill’s goals are training students, school personnel and law enforcement officers and officials “to identify warning signs and intervene to stop school violence before it happens.”

That is absolutely critical, in view of the number of school attackers whose behavior leading up to assaults made it clear they were ticking time bombs.

The legislation authorizes the Department of Justice to make grants for the purposes of funding evidence-based programs and practices to train students, school personnel, and law enforcement to identify signs of violence and intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others. In addition to prevention efforts, the legislation funds technology and equipment to improve school security and prevent school violence.

S.T.O.P. is not a dramatic campaign to ban guns or lock up those who show signs of dangerous mental illness. It is, instead, a practical approach that respects basic rights. It is worth a try.