August 23, 2019

US school spends $48 million on curved corridors and hiding places to foil mass shooters
A school in the United States has spent $48 million redesigning its buildings with curved corridors, hiding places, and cement barriers in a bid to thwart mass shooters. The project at Fruitport High School in Michigan is aimed at reducing casualties in the event of an attack by hampering the sight lines available to a gunman in corridors. Cement barriers are being installed in hallways for pupils and teachers to take cover. Classroom windows looking on to hallways are being covered with impact-resistant film. Each classroom will also have a corner, called a "shadow zone," that is not visible from the hallway. And school administrators will be able to lock all the doors in the building by pushing a button. Bob Szymoniak, the school superintendent, said: "This building will be the safest, most secure building in the state of Michigan when it opens. "These are going to be design elements that are just naturally part of [school] buildings going into the future." He added: "If I go to Fruitport High School and I want to be an active shooter,  I'm going in knowing I have reduced sight lines. It has reduced his ability to do harm." The changes will be unveiled in December and could lead to other schools across the US taking similar measures. A design firm employed to draw up the safety features has previously worked on prison buildings. Meanwhile, in the school district where the Columbine high school shooting took place in 1999, teachers have been issued with special marker pens. The pens are for writing the time they place a tourniquet on an injured pupil in the event of a shooting. Mr Szymoniak said the decision to go ahead with the project in Michigan was taken after the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year. US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in 2018 Credit: AFP Last year, the US had 24 school shootings in which people were killed or injured. Gun control has become a high-profile issue in the 2020 election in the wake of two more mass shootings earlier this month. On consecutive days separate gunmen opened fire in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, leaving more than 30 people dead. In response to those incidents Donald Trump said he would like to see "very meaningful background checks" on people buying guns. But earlier this week Mr Trump said the US already had significantly strict background checks in place, and that many of his supporters are gun owners. Seven in 10 Republicans expressed approval of Mr Trump's handling of gun policy in a new poll.
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