Readers! Wondering what’s happening at your local schools, vis a vis more security. My older son’s high school is conducting a lockdown drill today, my younger son’s principal emailed home a comforting note but did not discuss any new procedures. Â One reader wrote:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’m wondering if anyone has contacted or is getting ready to contact their school/district about NOT implementing more security measures in light of Newtown?
Our elementary school has been handling things fairly well in my opinion, but in response to (apparently) repeated questions, the principal sent out a message this afternoon saying that the district in a meeting last month had “already identified concerns regarding our open campuses and is working on plans for fencing and gates to make our campuses more secure.”
Currently our campus cannot be locked down. The individual classrooms can be locked, but not the entire school grounds. A couple of the gates are merely openings in the fence, and they do not lock the students in for the duration of day. (A nearby school, perhaps 4 miles away, does this, so there is area precedent for implementing this kind of procedure.) I really want to know what others have said or what you might say if you were to contact the district urging them NOT to make our students into prisoners. Besides the fact that we don’t have the money to do it, it wouldn’t really help anything.
Lenore here again: I DO encourage schools not to become prisons, for so many reasons, mostly because they’re NOT prisons. Â And for the record, Newtown DID have a buzzer-only admission policy, but the gunman shot his way in.
I remember the story about a child disciplined for holding the door open for his teacher, because no one was supposed to do that for anyone, even a teacher with her hands full. And this one, about a tiny day care center in a church, where all available funds were spent on a PIN number security system. Or this one, about an even more elaborate security system at a day care center called Lola’s Place: it uses “vascular recognition system” — eyeball reading — to keep strangers out. As I wrote then:
Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t want to see kids safe at preschool. Itâ€™s that if we all felt our kids needed this kind of protection, the world of childhood would be in virtual lockdown. Which is where itâ€™s heading.
This view of the world â€” that kids are likely to be snatched out of pre-schools by criminal masterminds who laugh at a simplyÂ locked door â€” is (not to put too fine a point on it) paranoid-delusional-freakish.Â But as the article said, Lolaâ€™s Place is just the first pre-school to employ this system. The company is thinking aboutÂ New York, L.A. and D.C. next.
Then, perhaps, your town.
Then perhaps theyâ€™ll want to wireÂ your house.
Then perhaps theyâ€™ll suggest you erect a nice, friendly,Â fenced-in, razor wired, armed guard protected sandbox.
After all, â€œYou canâ€™t be too safe.â€
Or can you? â€” Lenore