The school year is upon us. Parents and children are excited and anxious to embark upon another year of learning and hope. The school year usually means new notebooks, new clothes and new teachers. But this year it also means more security. Last December's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut which left 20 children and 6 adults dead has left an undeniable image for schools and parents around the country to examine safety and security measures for this school year. We would be remiss if we did not take a lesson from the Sandy Hook shooting. Some school districts have put in place advanced security physical infrastructure measures, created access control identification and some have put security resource officers in the schools. These officers are generally employed by the local sheriff department or police department and unlike other officers, they specialize in school safety.
A year ago, all the focus on school safety was on preventing bullying which may have been placed on the back burner in favor of emergency preparedness involving active shooters. Schools are trying to reassure parents but I'm not sure if we have seen a substantial investment to restore and restart sound safety and security coordination.
Some states have passed legislation allowing school districts to have certain school employees carry guns on campus.
The federal government has published guidelines to help schools deal with emergency situations but it did not provide funding for security improvements. School security has been couched in gun control versus gun rights debates. There has not been a lot of help coming from Congress or the administration to help security on the front lines at our schools.
Federal, State and Local governments are overburdened and probably will not contribute to the school safety issue in a meaningful way. School districts and parents need to consider strategies and find a budget to support these.
You can click on the links below to see some of my past articles related to school safety issues.