The Austin American-Statesman Sunday edition published commentary from Ruby Payne on the root causes of gun violence, especially in schools. Toughening physical security measures only goes so far, Payne writes, “because the root causes of school shootings are emotional issues.”

From the opinion piece:

An acquaintance told me that during a school incident last year, her daughter started texting her from school, asking, “What do I do? How do I stay safe?” Ask any parent or teacher right now about their key concerns, and they will tell you about the safety of their children or students.

Texas Senate Bill 11, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, has identified processes and requirements to make schools safer. Schools are spending millions of dollars to harden campuses against intruders. While it is very important to secure all of the physical aspects of a school—with security officers, locked doors, safety drills, and so on—this will not be enough.

Why not? Because the root causes of school shootings are emotional issues. Wisely, the new law requires training in emotional wellness as well.

Until we address our children’s emotional realities and reduce home and neighborhood violence, their health, well-being, economic progress and the safety of our schools will remain at risk.