Over the past few decades, media reports of incidents involving firearms in schools have been increasingly recurring in many countries of the region. These incidents include firearms found inside schools, students who are caught carrying firearms among their belongings, armed students who threaten and intimidate their classmates and teachers, injuries and fatalities as a result of intentional and accidental gunshots inside schools, and even shootings. This phenomenon poses enormous challenges in ensuring safe learning spaces for girls, boys, adolescents and young people in the region.
Within this context, and to better contribute to the understanding and approach of this problem about which little has been investigated, UNLIREC recently developed a study entitled ‘Firearms in Latin American and Caribbean Schools: Approaches, Challenges and Responses’.
In addition to providing a regional overview of the subject, this study also touches on a series of measures to accurately address the presence and use of firearms in schools, which is available to States, civil society, school communities and other actors working in the areas of citizen security, arms control and school violence prevention. These measures are already being implemented in some countries of the region.
The initiatives included in this study include protocols and guidelines for intervention against the presence and use of firearms, tools for gathering information and records of incidents, safe gun storage measures at home, as well as education and awareness campaigns, among others.
This effort is aligned with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda “Securing our Common Future”, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security.
Raising awareness about the presence and use of firearms in schools and their real and potential impacts, as well as implementing public policies and other joint initiatives to strengthen current efforts in this area, is a key task for the various actors and sectors involved in these issues.
UNLIREC thanks the support of the different governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, and experts who contributed to the data and information in order to develop this study.
This initiative forms part of a larger project on firearms in Latin American and Caribbean schools made possible thanks to the funding provided by the Government of Sweden.