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Schools need to address safety concerns for students

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It seems like an annual ritual of Spring that April brings out some wild antics in the schools across the country. There has been a long, harsh winter and the Northeast has been pummeled with ice, snow, wind and cabin fever. Spring has sprung, but it surely doesn't mean for students to go bonkers for something to do. Recently, there have been attacks on students, but the one that has gained national and international attention was at Franklin Regional High School, a close-knit community just outside Pittsburgh.

In this case, the culprit was wielding two knives, and that action sent about twenty students to hospitals, with a few in critical condition. This despicable display of terror has escalated into many comments of how and why, and what to do. The actions by staff and students were evident to stem the knife assaults in a show of safety preparation and heroics. The first outcry was for metal detectors and others followed with safety rules and police protection at the school.

In related cases in Florida and Georgia, a question that has risen is to permit guns in schools. This decision will be made by the principals and then chosen teachers will have the ability to carry the concealed weapons. It should be noted that there has to be a training period to ensure that proper instruction is carried out successfully. But, what message does that send to students, families and community. That once safe zone in schools is now under fear and that will be decided between legislation and common sense.

The questions and answers to this dilemma of school safety needs to be addressed before more issues of violence, and that first step is for advocacy and awareness programs. There has to be a common bond among schools, students, teachers, community and parents. A concern is the message it sends to students first and foremost. Then, what must be done? Metal detectors, practicing lock down preparations for students and teachers and changing legislation are answers, but that takes funds and in times of fiscal cuts, that would be another problem to accrue the money necessary for safety in schools.

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