How safe are our schools?

Guest Commentary

In the past 26 years, at least 75 students have been shot and killed in the U.S., and another 127 have been wounded, this includes the most recent tragedy at the Newtown School. The shootings also took the lives of 19 staff and injured another 13.

Did the shooters of these kids ever make idle threats before they took human lives? Were there any prior red flags that could have prompted others to prevent the shootings? The death of one child, let alone 75, is unacceptable. The highest number of those killing and injuring others, incidentally, were boys 14 and 15.

Heightened security and awareness about potential violence are ways we can prevent these tragic incidents. Do I think that we need metal detectors in all our schools? I think we need something. In any case, most school districts do what they can to keep our children safe, but there are flaws in some schools’ security. Perhaps all those entering a school building should state their business and identify themselves before the entrance door is unlocked — a procedure now in place at Warrensburg High School. Unfortunately, familiar people could become violent.

Another concern: Are our school staffers, who are the first line of defense, well-trained in what to look for, or what to do in the event of a breach into the school? I think that the security and safety of our children should hold no boundaries.

Another preventative measure is to counsel troubled students. Paying particular attention to students who show signs of depression, anger or being a “loner” is a good place to start. The school psychologists, teachers, and staff members should be alert to any change in behavior of a student.

The students that have been arrested, or have spent a considerable amount of time in family court, should be monitored — not singled out, but evaluated.

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