There’s a myth out there that schools should be on lockdown to prevent an intruder from holding the kiddies hostage and/or murdering them in the hallways with some sort of automatic weapon. There’s no other explanation that I can find for why school districts are locking their doors during school hours. It makes no sense to seal off the students in a public school.
I’m new to having kids in school, so you’ll have to forgive me for just noticing this trend of padlocking institutions of learning. I remember when the shift toward a hypersensitive awareness of safety happened, and it was right after I had graduated from high school. The Columbine massacre happened and changed everything. When I went back to my high school, the students told me that the library had been walled off from the cafeteria because the Columbine killers went from library to cafeteria during their killing spree. Ugh. This was when I started detesting the surface changes that administrations were making. Instead of teaching respect and diversity, the schools were adding metal detectors and zero tolerance policies.
Lenore has a few stories up that touch on this irrational shift toward bubble wrapping the schools. The first is about a Swedish immigrant who was expelled from school and forced to do community service because he was caught carrying a pocket knife, which are standard tools for students in his home country. Zero tolerance policies are a failure, and they’ve only become worse in the last fifteen years. When I was in high school, I brought a duffle bag of martial arts weapons to my high school classroom to give a report on them. My teachers eyes went wide as I pulled out butterfly swords, tonfa, sai, nunchuku, etc, and she did tell me that I would probably get in trouble if she reported me. I remember being naively shocked that I would potentially be punished for showing these items in a report. Luckily, my teacher never turned me in, but now there are kids being suspended for making gun gestures with their fingers. As if finger guns were more dangerous because they don’t need reloading.
Lenore’s other story was based on a letter from one of her readers who was concerned why her child’s pre-school would add PIN keypad locks to the front door. I have to say that this story resonated with me. My daughter’s pre-school just remodeled, and one of the changes they made was that the door for the parents can’t be opened without knowing the PIN. I immediately groaned at this during parents night when they explained it. Her pre-school is in the basement of the YMCA, which is already protected from unauthorized visitors by a front desk where they scan your membership card. Having additional security is pointless.
The same thing is happening with Sasha’s elementary school. They have the school on lock down during the day for no good reason. I assume that they are protecting the school from moronic sociopaths? Because if I was intent on killing children, I would probably just knock on the window, wait for a secretary to walk all the way out to the front door, and then go in and shoot everyone. Even better, now I’m inside with the front doors locked so that emergency and rescue will have an even harder time entering. BAH!
So, I ask you whether you have noticed this shift toward hyper-safety in your area, and whether you’ve been as annoyed as me by the extreme measures schools have been taking to protect the students.