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School shootings have fueled a $2.7 billion school safety industry

Published: November 14, 2018
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Source: Washington Post

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Elsewhere at the July conference, vendors peddled tourniquets and pepper-ball guns, facial-recognition software and a security proposal that would turn former Special Operations officers into undercover teachers. Threaded into every pitch, just five months after a Parkland, Fla., massacre, was the implication that their product or service would make students safer — that, if purchased, it might save a life.

What few of the salespeople could offer, however, was proof.

Although school security has grown into a $2.7 billion market — an estimate that does not account for the billions more spent on armed campus police officers — little research has been done on which safety measures do and do not protect students from gun violence. Earlier this fall, The Washington Post sent surveys to every school in its database that had endured a shooting of some kind since the 2012 killings of 20 first-graders in Newtown, Conn., which prompted a surge of security spending by districts across the country.

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