Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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letter to the editor:

How far to go with school protection?

When I heard about the June 8 shooting involving two Metro Police officers, my initial reaction was to move on to the next story; another shooting, cops involved — another day.

When I heard about the school shooting in Oregon, my first response was: “Wow, school is still in session there? Or is it summer school?”

Perhaps this seems crass or rude, but I hardly believe that I am the only one who wakes up to these news stories and does not bat an eye.

This is not an indictment of my heart, for I feel pain and sympathy for the victims; rather, this is an indictment of our society. These stories are just too commonplace.

Teachers at my school are requesting that classrooms get the Sleeve, a carbon steel door stop to use in case of a shooting.

Other items include bulletproof blankets, backpacks and whiteboards. The idea that we have created a market for these items and that they may be coming to school near me is unacceptable.

First of all, schools are strapped for money. If my school needs to fundraise just to pay for toner, I’ll be damned if it spends money on an item that is nonessential to its core mission.

Second, it is quite the message to send to our youths by requiring and disseminating these materials. Essentially, we tell children to live in fear or, more importantly, that school is not safe.

Yes, we have fire and earthquake drills for natural and unpredictable disasters. However, by having these items, we tell them to fear their classmates, too. A school environment where you fear your reading partner or recess playmate is not a place made for learning.

Do we really believe that in a time of crisis our young students will have the wherewithal and bravery to go get their blankets or backpacks and hide themselves? What happens if it’s recess time, lunchtime or a passing period, or if they just cry out in fear? Are these things that practical?

Where do we stop? Should all schools require bulletproof backpacks? Should we have renovations where windows become bulletproof? Should we change our yearly professional developments to include self-defense and gun-shooting classes? Why not give each classroom a stun gun or pepper spray, too? Or since these items are cheaper than a bulletproof blanket or bulletproof backpack, do we start off with these items? When does it stop?

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