Ken Trump: Stop Protecting Hamburger Better Than School Kids

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Fast food restaurants and shopping centers for years have had better security than many schools.  Yet there are still people questioning security measures, such as cameras and police officers, being placed in our schools.

In most fast food restaurants, you can only enter through a limited number of open doors.  When you step inside, you are usually promptly greeted and asked how you can be helped. Many of these facilities have surveillance cameras inside and out, and even at the drive-through windows.

Too often, we still do not see this level of security in some of our nation’s schools .

Seriously – think about it:  For years we have protected hamburger better than our school children and teachers.

I find it interesting not only many students, but also many adults, don’t have a problem with police, security cameras, and other protection measures for their suburban shopping mall security or at a fast food restaurant.  Yet some of these same individuals believe we should have a lower standard of protection for students and teachers in schools.

Defining Reasonable School Security

Schools reflect the broader society in which we live.  If there are threats to safety in the community, why would be so naive to believe we should not take reasonable risk reduction measures to protect kids and teachers in schools? Many high schools have one to three thousand students there every day, which is as large as some smaller communities in this country.

The key issue, then, seems to not be whether we should have reasonable security measures in school.   The questions should instead focus on, “What is reasonable?” 

School safety must include a balanced and comprehensive approach ranging from prevention to preparedness.  The first and best line of defense will always be a well trained, highly alert staff and student body.  Relationships among students and staff is a key school safety factor, but properly designed physical security measures (controlling access, communications capabilities, and properly used cameras, for example) along with professional safety staffing (school resource officers and/or school security staff) can also be a viable part of the equation.

We should not have a double-standard for protecting kids in schools at a low level (or not at all) in comparison to protecting kids and adults at other public places (malls, recreation centers, sports and entertainment complexes, the local grocery store, etc.).

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Republished with permission from Ken Trump, a national consultant, speaker, author and expert on K-12 school safety and security, emergency preparedness and crisis planning.  He writes regularly at  http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

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