I called the high school to have my daughter excused for a dentist appointment. She was supposed to meet me in front of the school after lunch, but unfortunately, I was running late. By the time I got to the school, lunch had ended, and she had gone back to class.
I knew my daughter was not allowed to check her phone in class, so texting her wouldn’t help. I had to park and go into the office, so I could call her out of class.
Walking to the building, I remembered the school had recently installed a security system. All exterior school doors were locked and could only be opened with a school identification card (worn by all students and staff, on a lanyard around their necks).
I, of course, didn’t have a student ID card, so I couldn’t open the door. I waved my hands around, hoping someone inside would see me and open the door. Someone eventually did, and I was able to get into the office and get my daughter.
I’m glad the school has increased security. But what about the parents? How are we supposed to get into the building? I called the school to ask, and they informed me of the buzzer outside, I had missed. Parents, or anyone without a school ID, can use the buzzer to request entry.
School security is very important. I wanted to understand what the district was doing to increase security, so I called and spoke with Geoff Stands, a West Ada School District regional director. He told me the district began installing security systems last spring, due to the rise of national school shootings. They planned to install security systems in all of the elementary schools first, because they were less expensive (fewer exterior doors) and had minimal security. They decided to change their focus to the high schools after noting the multiple incidences of non-students walking into high schools. The security systems cost nearly $100,000 per high school and are paid for from the building maintenance funds. West Ada hopes to have security measures installed in every school in the district by the end of 2020.
With all the time and money spent on security systems, I have to ask; do these security measures protect our kids, or are they a large cost with little gain? If a majority of school shooters were students at the school (Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Columbine, Red Lake and Santa Fe High School, to name a few), locked doors wouldn’t prevent a shooting. You can read the list of school shootings in the United States here.
The Washington Post published this article about school shootings and increased security measures. After questioning 34 schools who had experienced shootings, most of them said there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the shootings.
Does your school have a security system? Do you think security systems deter school shootings? What security measures would you like to see at your school?
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