Editorial: Make students safe, within reasonEvery school district in North Dakota should review its safety policies, as Bismarck is doing. The killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., scared the nation. That scare makes reviewing school security a worthwhile response.
By: The Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
Every school district in North Dakota should review its safety policies, as Bismarck is doing. The killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., scared the nation. That scare makes reviewing school security a worthwhile response.
Bismarck Public Schools are making sure they can lock down schools, are bumping up training and will conduct a safety audit — all good ideas. We like the installation of “panic buttons” that is going on in local public schools.
It’s notable that Sandy Hook had done most of that, and still 20 children and six adults were killed at the school.
Making schools fortresses doesn’t guarantee safety. Nor does arming teachers, gun control or putting security people in every school. It takes some of each, a lot of most of it, and still it will not make schools 100 percent safe.
Bismarck has four school resource officers in its public schools. To put these law enforcement trained positions in every school — 20 new positions — would cost the city police department and school district $1.4 million annually. Is that too much? It’s a question that gets different responses from some parents and those who are not parents. It gets different responses from various taxpayers, and even disagreement from some security professionals.
The best solution must be a combination of staff and student training, a number of on-site security officers, community awareness and physical security — lockable doors, screening and panic buttons. There also has been discussion at the national level of changes in mental health policies.
Keeping schools safe, keeping communities safe, is complicated.
Risk always remains. It’s a thing parents have always been forced to come to terms with every day as they send their children out the door, whether it’s to school or some other activity. It can be terrifying. But it is necessary.
Students in a classroom or on the playground need to be able to learn or play without fear of predators of any kind. Parents need to know their children are secure when at school, that teachers and administrators are looking out for them.
School districts need to make schools safe. Teachers and administrators need to be aware of security issues and take training seriously. Parents, too, need to make their children aware of things they can do to be safe.
Law enforcement officers, mental health professionals and other community members all play a role in keeping children safe in and out of school.