Secure schools: But not that secure
Child abusers, drug peddlers and other common criminals would have a pretty hard time sneaking into public schools in the greater Manchester area. Over the years, schools have adopted security precautions designed to stop just these sorts of threats. Insane gunmen present another problem, one that has not been solved.
Describing the Bedford school system’s security measures, adopted since 2007 after a security review was conducted, Superintendent Tim Mayes recently recounted how the district has taken important steps to improve student safety.
Among the improvements are classroom doors that lock from both sides, outside doors that lock automatically and require guests to be buzzed in, and security systems that allow only authorized personnel with electronic swipe cards to pass through the buildings.
Bedford also is in the process of installing security cameras on the high-school/intermediate school campus.
Similar systems can be found around the area. All of these measures are good for keeping out people who want to slip in without being detected. But what about the person who is willing to shoot his way in?
“If someone wants to get in and hurt someone, they will,” Mayes said. “As we saw in Connecticut, a high-powered rifle can get through.”
That attitude is pervasive in public schools. The thinking is that it is better to risk this extremely rare occurrence than to take on the expense and the risk of having armed personnel in the building.
Granted, the odds of a local public school being shot up by a mad gunman are extremely low. But they are not zero.
Is the distaste for guns so great that we will not even consider taking precautions that would prepare schools for the worst?