Militarized Schooling? "Newtown Was A Nuclear Bomb That Changed Everything"
The following sign on the grass in front of a Texas school sums up where we are with the militarization of education in America.
As WSJ reports, public schools nationwide are greeting students for the fall term with a host of new security measures including adding armed guards, giving guns to employees, installing perimeter fencing, and bulletproof glass. "It's kind of the way of the world, unfortunately," notes one parent, but bulking up on security has led some parents and experts to question how it affects students. The idea of "hardening" schools against intruders took on urgency after Dec 2012: "Newtown was a nuclear bomb that changed the whole landscape of everything."
"The reality is that we do have to be careful, and the children have to be aware of it, too," she said. "It's kind of the way of the world, unfortunately."
But, as WSJ reports, bulking up on security has led some parents and experts to question how it affects students.
"We would like greater attention to the psychological safety measures," said Stephen Brock, president of the National Association of School Psychologists. "They need to not just be safe at school but also feel safe at school."
From a percentage standpoint, schools remain a safe place for children.
A joint report by the U.S. Education Department and Justice Department released in June found that less than 2% of youth homicides occurred at schools between the 1992-93 and 2010-11 school years.
Yet a stream of violent incidents at schools since Sandy Hook has added to the concern about school security, with preliminary estimates from the joint report saying there were at least 17 school-associated violent deaths in the 11 months after the December 2012 shooting.
The idea of "hardening" schools against intruders took on urgency after the December 2012 killing of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Conn., with districts considering a variety of measures, from adding armed guards or giving guns to employees to installing perimeter fencing and bulletproof glass.
"Newtown was a nuclear bomb that changed the whole landscape of everything just because of the magnitude of it," said Jamie Grime, superintendent of Montpelier Exempted Village Schools in northwestern Ohio. "Security has always been an issue, but maybe not a huge issue. Now it is."
This will end well...
Returning students at Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Fla. found 20 new armed officers in the elementary schools in the first year of a plan costing about $1 million.
The school board also approved security training for employees, the hiring of a safety consultant and more measures to control school access, such as fencing and buzzers.
Meanwhile, all 16 schools in the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, public school district have been enclosed in security fencing and each school limits visitors to a single entry point, officials said. This September, for the first time, two police officers will patrol elementary schools, at a cost of roughly $68,000 from the district's state funding.
...officials continue to allow four anonymous employees to carry firearms on school property. Bulletproof glass and panic buttons have been installed, and officials held schoolwide assemblies for security training.
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