Yeah, go ahead, put up the fences. Issue photo IDs and make all visitors sign in and out of campus through one entry/exit point.

Go ahead – it’s all long overdue feel-good stuff in an election year.

But while the masterminds in the district implement or consider these measures – and more – they continue to ignore the internal threat on middle and high school campuses. That threat is not from a crazed adult armed intruder breaching campus security with a few automatic weapons.

The threat is from one of the school’s students.

Yet, despite plenty of evidence to support this, there was no “internal security” component of the safety update at the last school board club meeting and there isn’t a single word on the district website dealing with the number one deterrent to a horrific campus crime.

Here’s an excerpt from a story on the 1999 Columbine massacre from Encyclopedia.com: “However, authorities also learned that Klebold and Harris were often subjected to harassment and bullying from other students. Much discussion of this fact was reported by the media, which prompted various research organizations to look into the effects of bullying on juveniles. Some wondered if the ridicule from other students had prompted Harris and Klebold to seek revenge.”

Gee, ya’ think?

But despite a mountain of evidence to support the “student as perpetrator” scenario, there isn’t one word on the district website home page encouraging troubled students to seek confidential support. There is no crisis hotline number, no suicide prevention number, no number for anything.

The closest thing you’ll find is this on the safety page:

See Something, Say Something

If you see something, say something – Don’t spread it- report it! 

This is the best deterrent to potentially harmful situations. We want everyone on our campus, including parents, guardians and guests to be empowered to report any unusual or suspicious activity to a site administrator, employee or police.

Unfortunately, this is too little, too late. The best way to reduce the threat of violence on any of our campuses is to move upstream and identify troubled students before they act out their retaliation or other fantasies.

So where is that initiative? Nowhere.

Oh, and I couldn’t help but smile at the result when I clicked on:

2/15/2018:
Superintendent Safety Overview (in light of Parkland shooting)

Clicking on that link takes you the standard “page not available” message. Is that because the super has no safety overview?

How about this…

Most school shootings are not spur-of-the-moment, they are planned, sometimes meticulously. Klebold and Harris went as far as planting diversion bombs three miles from the high school so the police would be occupied.

Most perpetrators also provide hints that something is coming.

So let’s say that a middle or high school is hosting an evening play or concert. Lots of people show up and they are not subject to any search, nor do they have to sign in or wear a badge. After all, it’s just a play, right?

Nope. That student planning his or her attack sees this as an opportunity to place weapons on the campus for use in a later attack, without any security measures in place.

How about that scenario? Why is there no discussion about protecting students and staff from this possibility?

Why? Because like so many other programs in the district, the people in charge are not qualified to run the program. That’s partly why we see the district hiring so many consultants.

School safety is front and center right now but the foot-dragging and incomplete measures we are witnessing are not supporting maximum campus safety.

Steve Smith

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