After yesterday’s tragedy at the Sparks Middle School in Nevada, some reports have stated that implementing physical security for schools is not enough. From a column in today’s edition of USA Today…
“The specific location of the shooting spree — on the playground within the school’s campus — points out the limitations of many of the security-minded proposals that have been debated in the months since last year’s Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre. No form of access control — be it a metal detector, school ID cards, or locked doors and windows — is sufficient to protect the lives of innocent children and staff members. No threat of armed resistance, such as a school resource officer or teachers with loaded guns in their desk drawers, can deter this type of senseless violence.”
Access control, cameras, visitor management systems, and other security features will not thwart every attempt to harm the children and staff in our schools, just as fire doors and sprinklers don’t always protect building occupants from a fire. But the lack of a complete, 100% infallible solution, should not mean that we throw our hands up in defeat. We have no way of knowing how many incidents are averted by the security that is now prevalent in our schools.
Michael Landsberry, the teacher who was killed in yesterday’s school shooting, died while attempting to protect the students. Many school districts are training teachers to take a more active approach in a school shooting situation when they have no other choice. Mr. Landsberry lost his life, but how many lives did he save by cutting this incident short? Here’s a report from CNN about one of these training programs.