Unit 2 A Better Way to Prevent School Shootings

School Shootings have got to stop and there is no debate that they need to stop. The debate is over how. More guns, less guns, gun control, mental health, better parenting, arming teachers, and/or  school security. The list goes on, and almost everyone has a strong opinion that they believe, if implemented, would be the best solution. And most people are viscerally reactionary to a differing opinion. Our nation’s leaders are no different in how they feel about this issue. This is an ethical dilemma that needs to be solved, and needs to be solved quickly. To better understand each other and actually move toward any solution or change, I suggest that we reframe the debate with the help of some of our neighbors to the North.

The Canadian Psychological Association developed a code of ethics which contains within it a process that our legislators and us as citizens can use to move to a place where healthy debate and positive change can take place (CPA, 2017). This process contains a 10 step process to help solve ethical dilemmas.

  1. Identification of the individuals and groups potentially affected by the decision.
  2. Identification of ethically relevant issues and practices, including the moral rights, values, well- being, best interests, and any other relevant characteristics of the individuals and groups involved, as well as the cultural, social, historical, economic, institutional, legal or political context or other circumstances in which the ethical problem arose.
  3. Consideration of how one’s own biases, external pressures, personal needs, self-interest, or cultural, social, historical, economic, institutional, legal, or political context and background, might influence the development of or choice between courses of action.
  4. Development of alternative courses of action.
  5. Analysis of likely short-term, ongoing, and long-term risks and benefits of each course of action on the individuals and groups involved or likely to be affected, taking into account relevant individual and cultural, social, historical, economic, institutional, legal, and political contextual factors.
  6. Choice of course of action after conscientious application of existing principles, values, and standards (which includes but would not be limited to relevant laws and regulations).
  7. Action, with a commitment to assume responsibility for the consequences of the action.
  8. Evaluation of the results of the course of action.
  9. Assumption of responsibility for consequences of action, including correction of negative consequences, if any, or re-engaging in the decision-making process if the ethical issue is not resolved.
  10. Appropriate action, as warranted and feasible, to prevent future occurrences of the dilemma (e.g., communication and problem solving with colleagues and team members or other collaborators; changes in procedures and practices). (CPA, 2017)

On the school shooting issue, inability of positive action has been the status quo among our leadership for quite some time. Using this process from the CPA code will enable leaders to discuss the issues in a more healthy way. Using this process, leaders are encouraged to talk with all parties who may be affected by a change of policy (CPA, 2017). It would be important that leaders seek to understand where all parties are coming from and also understand where they themselves are coming from, not forgetting about implicit attitudes and biases that they may have.

Many different approaches would be considered and nothing during the beginning of this process should be off the table. Many times, leaders dismiss approaches because they are unconventional, but often an unconventional problem needs an unconventional solution. What this also does, is help all parties feel like they have a voice and have been heard even if their idea in full or in part is not used in the ultimate solution.

It would be foolish to think that whatever solution that is implemented has a 100% chance of working. This is why we need to evaluate the solution. During evaluation, leaders can see what is working and what is not working. This can lead to modifications or using a different course of action all together. Having a certain level of maturity to take ownership for mistakes and correct those mistakes will be important during this time.

Even if one does not agree this process will work, let’s talk about another process that may work better to facilitate positive results. First debating the process, many will be less apt to have a visceral response to a differing opinion. Once, an agreeable process is decided on to frame the debate, we will be quickly moving toward a solution that everyone can agree to. These 10 steps can provide the framework that is missing or at least a guide to a framework in which this nation can create positive solutions which will better protect our most precious commodity, our children.


Canadian Psychological Association. (2000). CPA code of ethics for psychologists . Retrieved from http://www.cpa.ca/aboutcpa/committees/ethics/codeofethics/


  1. Jasmine Nicole Hall February 26, 2018 at 1:05 AM #


    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog for this unit. School shooting are very prevalent and no one is being able to figure out a way to prevent the occurrences from happening. I seen a post on social media that reflected towards this topic and how the cycle of events went: 1. the school shootings happen, 2. prayers and thoughts are given, 3. government officials speak on the behalf of the shootings that are addressed publicly and affirms action will be taken to stop the shootings from happening again, 4. everyone forgets, 5. another shooting happens and the cycle begins yet again. The government believes that taking away the Second Amendment may be beneficial; however, those who are ethical thinkers understand that guns don’t kill people, people are killing people with the use of guns. I appreciate the time you have taken to think out an idea to solve this issue. I also agree when you stated: ” It would be important that leaders seek to understand where all parties are coming from and also understand where they themselves are coming from, not forgetting about implicit attitudes and biases that they may have” (Bennett, 2018). Maybe the CPA’s principles could come into play with helping solve the issue:

    • “Principle I: Respect for the Dignity of Persons and Peoples: The first principle is about not discriminating against individuals or groups of people. It is about treating all people like they have the same worth to society. This principle aligns primarily with the APA’s Principle E: Respect of People’s Rights and Dignity.
    • Principle II: Responsible Caring: This principle is about maintaining expertise to be able to maximize benefit to others while also minimizing harm. This principle aligns with the APA’s Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmalificence as well as Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility.
    • Principle III: Integrity in Relationships: This principle is about maintaining relationships that are trustworthy. This is very similar to the APA’s Principle C: Integrity.
    • Principle IV: Responsibility to Society: Canadian psychologists should be mindful about society and try to benefit it as well as avoid harming it, but given that this principle is lowest in priority, they should not do so at the expense of the individual. This principle is similar to the APA’s Principle D: Justice, but it has a different aim (unlike the other three CPA principles that have almost direct corollaries with APA principles). The CPA’s principle more clearly makes the case for individual rights. In other words, the CPA code takes a more egoistic approach to ethics than the APA code” (PSY 533, 2018).

    It appears to seem that not many people are understanding the issue behind why these shooting keep occuring, and little action has been taken to solve the issue. Being able to point out a potential situation before it happens, will help decrease these shootings. People are not taking the time to understand the person and their motives behind the attack. For example, with the shooting that happened in FL a few weeks ago, the attacker seemed to be calling out for help from anyone that would listen (in my opinion) when he commented on the YouTube Video sharing that he would be a professor school shooter a year before he went through with his plans. Of course, the YouTube subscriber contacting the FBI, but why did no one reach out to the attacker and try to dissolve the situation at the start of it all, the person.

    Again, great post! I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and ideas.

    – Jasmine N. Hall

    PSY 533 (2018). Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1896721/pages/l06-canadian-code-of-ethics-for-psychologists?module_item_id=23791957

  2. Lora Arcos February 22, 2018 at 9:51 PM #

    This is a very emotionally-driven subject, which leads to many fierce and staunch opinions on how to tackle this epidemic.
    Within the Canadian Psychological Association’s principles outlined (CPA, 2017), one in particular stands out. “Analysis of likely short-term, ongoing, and long-term risks and benefits of each course of action on the individuals and groups involved or likely to be affected, taking into account relevant individual and cultural, social, historical, economic, institutional, legal, and political contextual factors.”
    Because there are so many players involved (lobbyists, political organizations, politicians, public citizens, etc), each has their own prioritized agenda and they each base their idea on how to “solve” the problem on those prioritized opinions. This creates a hamster-wheel effect, and little is accomplished.
    What I do know is that arming educators only instills more ‘fear-based’ tactics and does little to get to the root of the problem. To put that unfathomable expectation on a teacher to be armed and ready to kill should there be an intruder makes absolute zero sense. And for the suggestion that arming 20% of staff in each school (Oh, 2018) and those that choose to be a part of that 20% get a “little something extra monetarily” is asinine and is downright infuriating.

    Canadian Psychological Association. (2000). CPA code of ethics for psychologists . Retrieved from http://www.cpa.ca/aboutcpa/committees/ethics/codeofethics/

    Oh, I. (2018, February 20). Trump doubles down on plan to arm 20 percent of teachers. Retrieved from https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/02/trump-doubles-down-on-plan-to-arm-20-percent-of-teachers/

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