Security of our schools
How can we achieve a commonsensical approach to addressing the urgent need to seek ways to secure all schools---public or private---and make them safe for learning? This is where I would like to begin the discussion of this chosen topic.
First, being magnanimous toward one another is expected, and civility in this dialogue is a must!
I am convinced that without a doubt, order is an absolute priority as it concerns school security! I believe it is the beginning point for this discussion. Order means rules established and observed, everything has a reason and a place, and a purpose for the structure created. Order should be the basis for all reasonable solutions that might be presented in this forum.
To begin, only proven and sound solutions are going to have any traction in confronting this threat to order in our schools and the goal to make them more secure. A response centered on reason must prevail! This is not about how much money need be spent or procured or what is the latest and greatest measure having been whipped up to show action and quell the sense of urgency in this threat. Next, the need to argue over the subject of firearms needs to be set aside in this discussion. Remember, order needs to be the first concern! The facts are that death by vehicular crashes, suicides, tools of all kinds, and medical procedures, to name a few possibilities, kill more people than do firearms every year. We are unable to control alcohol and opioid use as well, so why does anyone think guns can be regulated? Anyone who believes they can is genuinely wished well in their endeavor to achieve such an end.
The first step to order needs to be the establishment of building entry rules that are continuously enforced and consistently without exception! It should include well trained physical monitors when possible and real-time visual monitoring always. Alarm signals connected to CCTV monitoring should be installed. All physical human monitors must not fail to follow procedures to ensure expectations are met! As a public warning, reinforcing the message of “See something, say something” needs to be repetitive as a visual and audible message. An anonymous reporting system needs to be set up which would be monitored, investigated and verified by school administrators with local law enforcement assistance. Create proven training programs that teach educators, counselors, social workers and school administrators in depression and anger detection skills and intervention tactics to thwart and to resolve peaceably such threats. Training these professionals, not in firearms, but instead in identifying specific signals is a better approach to early detection and prevention. Arming school staff is not the answer, it is folly and illusion to believe otherwise. It would be more cost efficient to better train teachers and counselors in identifying specific behaviors of troubled students and signals of depression---and certainly more productive if they were able to intervene and temper conflict situations.
Indeed, it is awful that children and adults are being wounded and or killed in schools, but the best solutions lie at our fingertips. One answer is to call upon retired educators, administrators, police, and military veterans for feedback and input, and possibly to have them fill roles in a frontline preventive strategy to help mitigate these incidents, but arming more people in a safe setting for learning is counter-intuitive and is not indeed the answer. The chance for wrongful shootings, negligent actions in handling and securing firearms, the issue of established implied bias towards others, insufficient and routine training in the use of weapons, and lack of any de-escalation tactics taught makes for an environment that is ripe for a fatal or unintended incident.
Lastly, I believe state prosecutors need to hold entirely responsible, to the fullest extent of state criminal laws, those adults not making sure that firearms are secured in their homes! A significant number of school shootings were from under-aged children having access to weapons in the home, i.e., knowing the combinations to gun safes, knowledge of the whereabouts of keys to these safes, unsecured safes, young shooters unchecked by adults in removing firearms from home. In the final analysis, order and accountability are key!