The boy who kidnapped a girl from Varina High School at gunpoint was sentenced to five years in prison. The boy kidnapped the girl from the high school parking lot by showing her the gun. He held her captive in a home for hours until she managed to escape. He plead no contest to charges of brandishing a firearm near a school. He was sentenced to five years, but the judge suspended four years and seven months of the sentence.
School Kidnapping Analysis
Kidnappings from school are rare, but as a recent case in Philadelphia showed, can be a high-impact event. The most recent case has the added dimension of occurring in the school parking lot. This adds an additional factor making it more difficult for which to prepare. There are some factors that schools can take a look at to improve their children’s security in and out of school buildings.
School Kidnapping Prevention – Access Control
The easiest way for schools to protect children is to limit access to their school to those people with legitimate purposes. This is done by developing protocols and procedures that screen those who enter, checking them against a database of authorized people. Of course, these are only as good as the people who implement them, so training and accountability are a must. High schools with parking lots can be monitored for out-of-the-ordinary behaviors, providing the school, and law enforcement, with early warning and information that may help with the investigation.
School Kidnapping Prevention – Climate Control
Schools that have a climate in which teachers, students and parents have developed trusting relationships make it easier to see when trouble is developing. It is possible that a girl who is having trouble with a young man will tell a trusted adult. Even if the kidnapping occurs, there may be information the trusted adult can give law enforcement that can get them to where they need to be.
School kidnappings need not occur. By developing good school climates and tighter access controls, schools can lower the probability that a kidnapping will occur at their school.