Thursday, May 3, 2007

School Safety

With the latest shooting at Virginia Tech, it got me to thinking about how schools have really had to alter their responsibilities, compared to the previous decades that we all went to school.  It's amazing how small-time bullying (from the "good old days") has escalated in recent years into shooting deaths.  I don't know if there's a way to stop this momentum, but I"m hopeful that schools will take a good look at ways to reduce the chances of guns at school, as well as protecting their students if there is such an occurence.

My girls attend a public elementary school in Chandler.  For the last 7 years, they've been in a very small Montessori School, which really gave us no reason for worrying about their safety.  However, now that they are in the public forum of schools, I've discovered that their school actually does have some good procedures in place if there is a concern for the children's safety.  If someone on the school campus begins wreaking havoc, an alarm across the whole school goes out, so that every room and every teacher can hear it.  The teachers then lock the doors and cover all the windows with black-outs, so that no-one can see in.  The children are not allowed out until a second signal notifies them that it's safe to leave their classrooms.

When my girls first told me of this set-up, it struck a note of fear in my heart, for I had never before considered that they would need to practice for such an event.  However, once that subsided, I realized that bringing the possibility to the attention of the children and running drills with them on what to do, is the best policy the school can have.  Keeping them in the dark (innocent as we all want to keep our children!), is not the way to ensure their safety.

I am hopeful that all schools in the Valley have similar procedures in place.  Check with your children's school and ask them what they are doing to ensure your children are as safe as possible should the unimaginable event happen to take place here.