WORKABLE FRONTLINE SOLUTIONS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY ARE ULTIMATELY A STATE AND LOCAL ISSUE AND RESPONSIBILITY.
What are we doing to secure school safety for our communities? Kids are being seriously injured or killed in our schools. Doing something is better than doing nothing and there is, of course no excuse for doing nothing, but we must do the right thing. Innocent lives rest in the balance. All we hear about in the news, though, is accusation and denunciation, all laid at the feet of the usual convenient scapegoats through whom the public is encouraged to vent its frustration and outrage. We see displays of raw anger and antipathy, emotional outbursts, and sanctimonious posturing. And we are proffered feel-good single solution answers that, on careful examination, do nothing at all to protect the lives and well-being of our children, and scarcely mask their true import: to promote a social and political agenda.
Those of us who have young children or grandchildren should not have to send them to school where they are not safe. If reasonable safeguards are put into effect in our schools, children will be safe. Think about it. Substantial security already exists at airports, in hospitals, in shopping malls, in corporate and governmental office buildings, in courthouses and banks, and in police stations. You get the idea. And yet, there are schools in America that have no security or, at best, minimal and inadequate security for our children.
THERE WAS VIRTUALLY NO SECURITY AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL ON THE DAY OF THE SHOOTING. WHY IS THAT?
There was virtually no security at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; and what minimal security did exist at the School that the public did hear about—namely the assignment of one Broward County Deputy Sheriff to the School—proved useless in preventing or, for that matter, in even attempting to prevent the tragedy that ensued. In an updated article, titled, “As Gunman Rampaged Through Florida School, Armed Deputy ‘Never Went In’”, The New York Times reports: “The only armed sheriff’s deputy at a Florida high school where 17 people were killed took cover outside rather than charging into the building when the massacre began, the Broward County sheriff said on Thursday. The sheriff also acknowledged that his office received 23 calls related to the suspect going back a decade, including one last year that said he was collecting knives and guns, but may not have adequately followed up. The deputy, Scot Peterson, resigned on Thursday after being suspended without pay after Sheriff Scott Israel reviewed surveillance video.”
Matters didn’t improve once other Broward Sheriff’s Deputies arrived, for they, too, did nothing to confront an active shooter. The New York Post reported, in their article, titled, “Four sheriff’s deputies hid during Florida shooting,” “Not one but four sheriff’s deputies hid behind cars instead of storming Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla., during Wednesday’s school shooting, police claimed Friday — as newly released records revealed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had received at least 18 calls about the troubled teen over the past decade. Sources from Coral Springs, Fla., Police Department tell CNN that when its officers arrived on the scene Wednesday, they were shocked to find three Broward County Sheriff’s deputies behind their cars with weapons drawn.”
Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, has, for his part, much to answer for as he bears full responsibility for the action, or inaction, of individuals under his command, as well as for his own actions before, during, and after the tragedy. The parents of all the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—not only the parents of those students who were injured, some seriously, or parents of students whose lives were lost—should ask for a full accounting of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s actions. Parents of these High School students should also ask Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie why the school system had failed to institute even rudimentary security measures to forestall just such a tragedy that had occurred. It could not have been merely a matter of Broward County Public Schools having insufficient funds to pay for premier security for its schools–as if the cost of a child’s life should ever devolve into a cost-benefit analysis. After all, Parkland, Florida, where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is situated–nestled close to Boca Raton and Coral Springs, wealthy communities–is itself a wealthy City.
MANY STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS, ACROSS THE COUNTRY, HAVE IMPLEMENTED SECURITY MEASURES FOR THEIR SCHOOL SYSTEMS. UNFORTUNATELY, OTHERS, LIKE MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL HAD NOT AND, TO DATE, HAVE NOT.
The public must ask: why are so many State and local governmental officials providing no security in and for their schools or are providing their schools with minimal and inadequate security? What are these public officials waiting for? To do nothing only invites another tragedy to occur in schools that have failed to implement even rudimentary security measures.
All too many Americans, it seems, are waiting for the Federal Government to legislate a solution. They look for a quick fix. The Federal Government can recommend guidelines, to be sure, and can provide State grants and encourage other types of funding. But, school safety is, ultimately, a State and local matter. This is hard work, but it is doable. Several States and local communities across the Country have acted to institute multilayered security measures in their schools to protect the lives and well-being of their children. Those communities that have not taken action must do so now. They must be proactive, not reactive.
A CONCENSUS FOR CONCERTED ACTION TO MAKE ALL SCHOOLS IN OUR COUNTRY SAFE FROM LIFE-THREATENING VIOLENCE IS POSSIBLE.
We seek to get a consensus on measures that can be immediately implemented in all our schools to provide an initial layer of passive protection. At this juncture, we do not need to get bogged-down in detail.
Video surveillance, both internal and external; secured entrances and exits; use of metal detectors; photo identification and written passes with appointment confirmations; and monitored alarm systems that are connected to police departments are all examples of neutral, passive security measures implemented for both business and government and, which, too, have been implemented in schools across the Country. These passive security measures have been shown to work well in real world situations. Had even a few of these security measures been implemented in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, injury and loss of innocent life would doubtless have been prevented or certainly reduced.
Again, many communities across the Country have already employed many of these measures and other passive as well as active measures, in their schools. Those communities that haven’t done so should seriously consider doing so if they are truly serious about protecting the lives and well-being of their children.
ACTION ALERT: CALL YOUR STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT!
Find out what your State and local government officials have done to make all the schools in your community—preschool, elementary, middle or junior high school, and high school—safe.
This, ultimately, is your responsibility. If your government officials have taken no action or minimal action or are reluctant to discuss the issue with you at all, then you must join with other members of your community to make sure that your government officials are responsive to and do listen to your concerns and that they take immediate action to address the issue of school security if they haven’t already done so. These Government officials owe it to you to make sure that the life and well-being of your child is safe. There is no excuse for delay. Don’t wait for your child to become another statistic!
Copyright © 2018 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.