Only thirty-four days ago, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and slaughtered twenty young children and 6 of their teachers. No one realized that on that fateful day that the violence that is such a common feature of television viewing, movies, video games and family and domestic life in America, would creep into the halls of Sandy Hook and blast the life out of so many innocent souls.
It is painful to have to admit that violence in America is such a significant part of our culture. Gun violence in particular, is so prevalent that turning a blind eye to the menace that it has become will continue to result in mass killings such as those in Newtown, the movie theatre in Colorado and at Virginia Tech. Even if we do not admit it, it does not matter because the dangerous level that gun violence has reached is demonstrated in horrific ways in many aspects of our lives. When the violence plays out in our schools, it is especially horrendous.
The White House Blog on January 16, 2013, announced that President Obama signed 23 executive orders on gun control. It was a noble effort but only 4 of the orders listed below, are directly related to school safety.
“12. "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.”
18. "Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers."
19. "Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education."
23. "Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health."
A vast amount of work is still left to be done to improve school safety. It is a complicated and arduous task which requires a multifaceted approach. That notwithstanding, educational administrators, teachers and other school personnel are obligated to take up the matter of school safety without delay and come forward with ways to protect, on a daily basis, the lives of each and every student left in their care.
In Texas, there are models for a variety of school safety measures up to and including armed personnel on school grounds aimed at protecting the lives of their children. In Harrold, Texas, school authorities have gone beyond the use of security guards to keep their children safe at school. This may not be the right solution for every school but, if it keeps the children in their school safe then, in my opinion, Harrold officials are doing the right thing.