“As schools across the nation prepare for the 2018-2019 educational year, parents, students, teachers, and school officials are keeping bulletproof protection and gun safety in mind, along with computers, books, lesson plans and learning.
In all, 74 percent of the 1,000 parents who participated in the national online survey said they were concerned about a school shooting happening at their child’s school this year, and 63 percent said they were more concerned than they were last year. And nearly one in five said they had already purchased some form of ballistic protection for their children.
“There are very few places in America left where people still think they’re safe from gun violence. That’s disappearing,” says Christopher Kapiloff, one of three partners at School Guard Glass, a Massachusetts-based safety company.
School Guard’s glass, which can be installed in existing door and window openings, has attracted a growing roster of school customers in the U.S. Northwest and along the Eastern Seaboard, Kapiloff says.
The company is also partnering with Assa Abloy, the Sweden-based lock manufacturing giant, to produce window door-and-lock combination products capable of stopping an armed attacker from gaining entrance through a school’s exterior and classroom doors. “This essentially can turn every classroom into a lockdown area,” Kapiloff says.
School districts nationwide are exploring technology solutions, such as installing metal detectors or shatterproof materials, along with personal measures such as giving enhanced roles to school safety officers, says Francisco Negrón, chief legal officer and interim advocacy officer of the National School Boards Association.
“There’s not a single trend, because all schools and communities are different,” Negrón said. There’s only one general agreement, that “schools should not be fortresses,” he added.
For safer schools, empathy and security aren’t either/or choices. We need both. School safety is a three-legged stool comprised of people (students, teachers, staff, community members), place (building and campus), and practices/policies (routines and rules supporting safe activities). A proactive, comprehensive, developmentally appropriate approach to school safety doesn’t conflate schools with prisons. Instead of instilling “fear, distrust, paranoia,” talking about safety fosters meaningful change.
The STOP School Violence Act of 2018 answers a long-overdue need for funding addressing infrastructure, evidence-based education, training, support, and 21st-century technology. These much-needed resources will help communities prevent, not incite violence. While we don’t agree with the points in Young’s essay, we are glad people are joining the conversation.
School safety isn’t one person’s responsibility, it is everyone’s responsibility.
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.