All you have to do anymore is turn on your TV or check the latest headlines on the internet and you will easily find a report or article about violence in our schools. Shorty there after any incident of violence you can just as easily find another report or article about a school district looking to revamp their safety and security program. Do get me wrong, there is an absolute need for security in our schools, but do we overreact when revamping or revising the program in place after an incident? Is that overreaction then creating a “prison” like environment?
Lets look at it from a students perspective, there are a lot of schools today that are installing metal detectors at the main entrance and as you enter the building you are either scanned by a walk through or hand held device, the same type of device you can find at any correctional facilty. As they continue down the hallways, they are most likely going to be on video surveillance and encounter multiple forms of access control. You can look at any school and you will find gangs, if you don’t believe me then just look at all of the “tagging” or “graffiti” on the walls surrounding the school. Schools go on “lock down” just like correctional facilities when a threat or act of violence takes place. Everywhere you look there are just far to many similarities between the two institutions.
As parents, don’t we want our kids to be safe and secure when trying to learn? shouldn’t we want every possible safety measure in place, probably. How then do we find the balance and proper deployment of security technology so that we do not create a correctional facility feeling? Is it really that tough to do? As with every issue, there are two sides to the debate. One side does not want to create a big brother environment with to much security, the other side obviously wants to install and advocates for as much security as possible. Both sides have great points and again both sides just want what is best. Sadly enough, what ends up getting done always comes down to who can influence the school administrators the most. As parents, do you voice your opinion or do you let someone else do that for you, if you don’t speak up or engage in the process and listen to the debate then you are more than likely going to be disappointed in the end. Equally, if those providing security measures do not listen to the voices of the community, then a culture of dissent and frustration can be created.
Ideally, both sides need to engage in this discussion and ultimately do what is right for the students, the school and the community so that we do not create schools that resemble correctional facilities. There is no easy answer or solution unfortunately, however if we can find common ground and move forward together then the proper solutions can be attained. We do need security in our schools, but we don’t have to overreact when violence occurs.