Since my son goes to school out of district, I drive him to and from school every day. And this year, his school decided to implement a bunch of new ‘safety measures’.
Last year, parents milled around the lobby -right below the staircase where the kids came down -visiting with the kids who passed by, and the teachers. Last year, you simply told the office who you were there to pick up, and they would get the child. Last year, kids were allowed to go in and out the side doors, which were monitored by teachers in the mornings and afternoons.
But not this year. I thought about this as I entered through the new glass doors that can only be opened on the outside by electronic key card. I smiled at Barb, the sixty-four year old lady who sits by the doors and lets parents in during school hours. I sat down on one of two benches by the office, and stared through the glass walls -with two sets of double doors -waiting for my son to come down. The side doors are now kept permanently locked -nobody in or out.
Do I mind the security measures? No, not really. Some of them I even think are good ideas. But I’m a firm believer of doing things that will actually make a difference.
In the fifties, children were taught to hide under desks in the event of a nuclear attack. Today, we somberly look at those times with a bit of amusement, and bit of horror; did people actually think that would have accomplished anything other than melting the kids to the desks?
But we’re doing the same things today. As I sat there by the office this afternoon, I couldn’t help but think: Barb -kind lady that she is -lets everyone in. She doesn’t check ID before opening the doors for them, she simply opens the door. So there goes the first security measure -the electronic key cards -as doing any sort of good. What’s the point?
And after getting in, it’s not like Barb, or the other office secretaries -both of whom are in their early fifties -are going to be any sort of good at stopping someone who came in to do violence; they’d be gunned down before they could do anything. And those glass walls and doors that are meant to keep people from entering the school proper? I asked today: it’s the same sort of glass used in office front buildings. Nothing special or fancy about it. Slightly harder than normal glass, yes; but a well-placed brick -or enough blasts from a gun -will break it, leaving the perpetrator free to actually enter the school.
So what was the point of these security measures? Why did our school pay over thirty thousand dollars in total over the summer for new safety measures that anyone with half a brain could bypass?
There is one safety measure that was proposed that could have potentially stopped another Sandy Hook from happening, but it was voted down in huge numbers. What was this proposal?
An armed guard or police officer assigned to the school. People said that the children would be too frightened of the guard; or what would happen if someone took the officer’s gun? Think of the horror that could unfold! And besides, it wasn’t exactly cost effective, as one parent pointed out.
Think about that for a moment. A woman actually stood up -in front of other people, mind you -and said that spending thirty-five thousand on security measures that would accomplish nothing was okay, but spending that same amount on an actual safety measure that would actually work? Nope. Way too expensive.
Explaining to the kids that the man with the gun was there to protect them from bad men with guns? Nope, too complicated.
And gee, wouldn’t it be just horrible if a man with a gun burst into the school, subdued the armed guard, and ended up with… another… gun… So he’d have nine shots, in addition to whatever he brought with him.
This is the fifties all over again -except at least they already had the desks, and didn’t spend oodles of taxpayer dollars on it. Our laughable ‘security measures’ are no more effective than hiding under the desks in the event of a nuclear attack.