PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - From active shooter drills to expelling students that break the rules - America's attempts to curb gun violence in schools has not been successful. Research finds that many of the methods used by school districts to reduce the rate of shootings don't achieve their intended goal.
Now in the throes of her own major case following the Oxford High School shooting that left four teenagers dead, Prosecutor Karen McDonald plans to unveil a new unprecedented plan to tackle the rising rate of shootings.
"Prosecution - of course we are going to do that - but what do I say to the parents who are asking me all the time how do I keep my kids safe, what do I say to the community?" McDonald said. "We're going to have a model and a protocol that involves not just teaching kids to hide under their desk. There's a lot of other things that need to happen,"
McDonald grabbed headlines when she announced charges against the parents of the Oxford school shooter. Both parties are awaiting a trial that's scheduled for next year.
But it was during coverage of the Uvalde Texas mass shooting when the head prosecutor said more needed to be done.
"You have a front row seat to people’s pain and what that is like. So having it happen again and watching it - just as a viewer was a completely different experience for me," she told FOX 2 in an exclusive interview.
Research shows instances of gun violence in 2021 more than doubled from the year prior. But even as the U.S. continues to spend millions to prevent gun deaths, there's been little improvement as fatalities hit some of their highest rates ever.
McDonald's new approach will flex the expertise of some 20 specialists with backgrounds in mental health, law enforcement, and school safety. The data-based plan can be used in any group setting - from schools to places of business.
Of all the variables at play when a mass shooting happens, there's one factor that is almost always present: advanced warning signs. The accused shooter Ethan Crumbley showed clear signs of mental health issues and a fascination with firearms before he began shooting.
"When you gather up all of the people that knew even one small thing – if there was some training that asks ‘what does this look like’ (and) ‘what should we care about,’" said McDonald.
The commission McDonald is forming will be tasked with forming a curriculum that students and staff can use to identify if someone is having a crisis.
"The good news is there are things like that that are really easily identifiable when someone's in crisis," McDonald said. "We just need to inform the public and then we need to give them an option and someplace to go with that - and then we need to say now what are we going to do?"
The reporting system would involve an anonymous reporting process that would send alerts to a threat assessment team that can then take the information and work to determine if there needs to be intervention.
"It’s bringing all of that together - now we can’t force people to do it, but I think the need is there. Parents want to know," said McDonald.
The prosecutor will announce the commission at 10:30 a.m. Monday.