This week there has been a lot of discussion about guns in schools. The no gun zone liberals seem to be winning the argument and another opportunity to make America a gun free zone is too good for the Democrats to pass up. But the real question needs to be why the government has failed in it’s most basic concept of making our communities safe for children. Yes we need guns in schools, but armed teachers? That is a stupid idea intended to distract from the real solution
Real security does not cost much, given the absurd benefits that the teachers get in public schools they probably wouldn’t even notice the little bit it would cost to protect them. And now is the time to talk about protecting teachers and making the teachers part of the solution (they can pay for it). But not by arming them, but rather by making them part of the plan.
1. Guns belong in schools. They belong in arms cabinet, in a dedicated security office. Not that place were the put the old guy who can’t teach anymore. A real security office. A secure room complete with site cameras, staffed by trained security monitoring specialists, trained and capable threat control specialists. Equipped to handle a serous threat with the weapons and armor needed to engage the threat. Locked up unless needed of course. The size of the security staff might vary depending on the size of the school but should never be less than two. So there is always someone monitoring the cameras. And parents need to insist that the cameras work, cover the school and the staff maintains their capabilities to engage high risk situations. The cameras and controls should link to a central security office for backup and resources augmentation.
2. Classroom designs need to include survivability. A small room, a partition, or a way to create a safety zone should be retrofitted to every school. This could be a “blackboard, cork board wall that is backed by bullet proofing and can be pulled out from the wall in an emergency forming a closet with appropriate observation areas built in. Classroom doors could be locked remotely. There are many other design capabilities, desks could be stacked to form redoubts, classrooms could have adjoining room doors controlled by security to allow escape.
3. Most schools have drop down gates to cordon off areas within the school. Expand the number and make them remotely controllable. When the security monitors observe a non-student entering the school with a rifle it should be damn hard to get to the classrooms.
4. Training. Security officers need to be trained, and they need constant skill updating. They need to be able to physically engage an assailant in the worst situations. Teachers need training too. Starting with a code alert. What to do, where to take the children, how to communicate with the security office. Each teacher should have a means of communication, either a personal phone they are required to keep ready or another device. Other communications capabilities should be made available including speaker alerts, codes, actions and commands. Etc. Practice makes perfect. What the teachers do should be part of a bigger plan to thwart an assailant. And planned in coordination with security.
This is an effort to start a serious discussion about making our streets and schools safe for children, Government has failed at everything it has tried to control, illicit drugs, the prohibition alcohol , illegal immigration, gangs, crime, even their own spending. Controlling guns is not an option, protecting schools is something that can be done.
There is a side benefit. A few years ago I dropped my son off at his high school. I was making a right hand turn, and a car making a left hand turn into the lot in front of me looked out of place. It had two young men in it. No high school age or younger children. Just not the type of car that would be dropping someone off, and more importantly had it been turning into the student parking lot I wouldn’t have through twice about it. But this was parking for teachers only and for student drop off. As I approached the drop point I noticed that a young man, again, not likely school age was standing by the curb waiting for someone. He had a cell phone in his hand and was talking on it. As the car in front approached the young man signaled to girls standing by the entrance forward, they went to the car, exchanged something then scurried back in the building. The car exited the parking lot and went down the street to a parking lot in a shopping center not far from the school where it parked near the exit not the stores
Use your imagination about what went on. There is more danger to our children than an occasional mentally ill person. Our schools should be safe for our children, our streets parks and public places should be safe for our children. There might just be a broader benefit of providing real security at our schools, beyond the rare instance of mass murder.