Readers! This woman needs our help devising good arguments to bring to her pre-k’s PTA. Over to you! — L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’m a regular reader of your blog and love to hear your input and that of your readers on Free-Range issues.
Well, my Free-Range issue came up while I was at preschool orientation for parents the other day. The orientation leader announced that all the fund-raising money this year will be used to buy a security system. I first thought I’d misunderstood. I wondered why a small co-op preschool in a church in a quiet neighborhood would need a security system. So I asked about it and the leader said every family will have a PIN number to punch in to open the one entrance door, and that this is the norm at preschools.
I was sort of stunned into silence at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more it annoyed me. First, in the two years I’ve been a parent there, I’ve never heard of a “security breach” or any kind of threat, or even a minor incident like a confused church visitor wandering around the preschool. In fact, I’ve never even seen a parishioner or church employee in the preschool part of the building.
Second, the kids are all in classes with a teacher and two adult helpers and they don’t go anywhere alone, even the bathroom or the drinking fountain. (The kids are ages 2, 3 and 4.)
Ultimately, I think there will be more problems with people forgetting PIN numbers, or holding the door for other parents, which I’m sure will be against the rules. Plus, once this security system goes in, it just seems like it will feed the feeling that there is something to fear and that this is actually a good use of our donations and fund-raising dollars.
I am curious about your general opinion on this and also to hear from you or others in the know if this is the norm at preschools now. — A.
I don’t know if this is the norm now — I hope it isn’t, but I did just hear of another instance of this in a college town pre-K. I totally agree it is a waste of money that could be spent on so many other things — books, blocks, art supplies. And if a school is already so well-funded that it lacks for nothing except excessive security measures, maybe (in the spirit of a church-run institution) the money should be diverted to a school that lacks the stuff yours has.
This is like putting a five point harness on a swing: A new, unnecessary security precaution that could catch on, if and when it starts to seem just “better safe than sorry.” Even though it’s actually insane. — Lenore