It would, of course, be absurd to suggest that we abandon traditional public schools for online ones simply as a precaution against mass shootings. Mass shootings are extremely rare events, and only a fool would make a drastic policy shift with that in mind.
But the larger question of whether it makes sense to warehouse a bunch of kids together, sorted by age, remains. Is it time to rethink traditional public schools?
A few decades ago, the alternatives to public schools weren’t so alternative... Like interchangeable parts in an industrial machine, students were treated alike, regardless of their individual characteristics and needs. Square peg, meet round hole.
Putting kids together and sorting by age also created that dysfunctional creature, the “teenager.” Once, teen-agers weren’t so much a demographic as adults-in-training. They worked, did farm chores, watched children and generally functioned in the real world. They got status and recognition for doing these things well, and they got shame and disapproval for doing them badly.
But once they were segregated by age in public schools, teens looked to their peers for status and recognition instead of to society at large.