School safety a mustPublished 12:23pm Thursday, January 3, 2013
What happened to 26 faculty members and students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a few days ago should be taken as a warning to school officials everywhere. Unless security measures are in place to prevent anyone with a gun and evil intent to get inside, an unthinkable massacre is possible.
Based on news reports, Sandy Hook School was locked down after students reached their classrooms and the school day was under way. To gain entrance, a visitor was required to identify himself and state his or her business. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the gunman from forcing his way inside by breaking a window. Not until he realized the police were nearby did he turn his high-powered rifle away from his victims and shoot himself.
What happened was grist for an intensive police investigation, thousands of news stories and hour after hour of questions and answers on radio and TV. Still, we are left to ponder why did it happen and what could’ve been done to prevent it from happening? Clear answers are as elusive today as they were nearly three weeks ago.
The motive behind the murders may never be known. But one thing is certain. “We’ll not stick out heads in the sand and refuse to believe that further precautions need to be made to protect our children while they’re in school.”
Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed underscored that thought last week when he met with his principals and instructed them to review the school district’s safety policies and procedures and be thinking of ways they can be improved. Their thoughts along with those of district schools safety director Jerry Reeves will be shared with Hartselle police officers when they meet for an annual review later this month.
We are well aware that security measures are being enforced at Hartselle city as well as Morgan County schools because we visit them on a regular basis. It shouldn’t bother us to sign in and wear a name tag, or to be escorted to a destination point within the school. Neither should it be unreasonable to have a school resource officer on duty at all of our schools. No matter what steps are considered, the safety of our school personnel and students should be our primary concern.