Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Carroll County Public School's Response to CT Shooting

In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, the knee-jerk reaction from the liberal crowd is to ban all guns.  Let's ignore the fact that we have severely inadequate mental health services system that routinely ignores pleas for help.  And we regularly fail with early detection of mentally unstable and violent people in our society.  And sadly, we stigmatize people that have sought mental health.  "That guy's a nut!".  This further perpetuating the problem of others not seeking mental health services for fear of said stigma.  Let's ignore the fact that we routinely release violent people from our prisons into the general population of law-abiding citizens.  Let's punish the people that didn't do anything wrong and take away their guns.

I don't want this to be a discussion on gun control.  Instead, I want to focus on the response from the Carroll County Board of Education to the parents of students.  We all received an email from their AlertNow system detailing the current safety measures that are in place to alleviate our fears of such a horrific act of violence being committed in one of our schools.

1) All schools have emergency plans, train staff and hold regular safety drills.
          I'll ignore the grammatical comma error committed by someone in our education system.  Emergency plans are good.  Safety drills are good.  However, it was the quick thinking and courageous acts of the teachers that saved the lives of many of the students.  I seriously doubt they were trained on how to react in this situation.  Are schools practicing regular drills on responding to a crazed gunman in the building with a semi-automatic weapon?

2) Schools have excellent relationships with local law enforcement and other agencies, and CCPS is constantly evaluating and updating our security procedures.
          It is good to have an excellent relationship with schools.  Are we confident that such a good relationship will allow the police to respond quickly enough to avert the tragedy?  Would having a poor relationship with police prohibit their ability to respond in a timely manner?  Did the school in Connecticut not have a good relationship with local law enforcement?  I don't think that the relationship with law enforcement has anything to do with safety.  Law enforcement responds to crimes.  They rarely prevent them or stop them in action.

3) We continuously monitor the main entrance to our schools and require visitors to sign in with the main office upon their arrival.
         Seriously, the only part of this that is a safety measure is to monitor the doors.  Those damn doors better be locked.  Requiring people to sign in and get a visitor's pass will not prevent a deranged lunatic from shooting up the school.  Lock the doors.  Require visitors to state their business. Confirm the visit.  Empty your pockets.  THEN let them in. The End.

4) All Employees wear ID badges, and our maintenance workers wear uniforms.
          ID badges don't stop crime.  Neither do uniforms.  Anyone who's ever seen Ocean's Eleven knows that anyone can get a uniform and pose as someone else.  This is not an effective safety measure.  In my opinion, the visitor's book is effective when there is a fire and they can use that to confirm that all visitors are accounted for once the school has been evacuated.  Safety measure?  No. 

I appreciate Carroll County Public Schools' efforts to put together a list of items about school safety.  A list always makes people feel safer.  "Look honey, our kids will be safe.  Here is a list that tells me so."  But let's be honest, unless there is a physical barrier to prevent the gunman from entering the school, this list is useless.  If the email had just said, "We lock the doors to all schools so no one can get in.", then I would have been happy.

What do you think schools should do to be safe?

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