By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 19, 2018
Like everyone, I am shocked and depressed over the school shootings that have taken place throughout America. From a common sense point of view they make absolutely no sense. One or more people simply shooting defenseless students, teachers and administrative staff is beyond understanding.
What makes even less sense is America’s response to these shootings or should I say lack of response. The recent shooting in Santa Fe, Texas coincided with my reading Freedom’s Forge by Arthur Herman a book every American should read. The point of the book is that the Federal Government did not win World War II, it was won not only by the men and women fighting the enemy but just as importantly and maybe even more importantly, it was won by American business and ingenuity in spite of the Federal Government that was more of a hindrance than a help.
We as a country are now faced with a problem – school shootings. Immediately following these shootings, we see one group after another including the news media immediately turn to the Federal Government for a solution to the problem. People want people to just do something. The Federal Government does not work like that. It rarely does anything that all 535 politicians can ever agree on. In the case of school shootings it always boils down to one side calling for more gun control (doing away with the Second Amendment) and the other side claiming the problem is not the guns but rather the people using the guns. As a result, NOTHING ever gets done to solve the problem. Times passes and the issue fades from the news until the next shooting.
I do not pretend to know the solution to the problem of school shootings but I believe I do know how to achieve that solution and it is taken directly from the pages of Freedom’s Forge. We have identified the problem – the problem is school shootings. The question is how do we stop them and protect our students.
Like most problems, the answers are insurmountable if you only look at the big picture or in this case look to the Federal Government to solve the problem and then we individuals go about our daily lives waiting for the solution to magically appear. It doesn’t work like that and never will. To solve most problems, you reduce the problems to smaller increments that then become much easier to solve. One-by-one the smaller solutions present themselves as the solution to the Big Problem.
Who among us has the solution? It would be my suggestion that the solution will be begin with those most directly affected and involved – our thousands of school teachers who go to work every day expecting a peaceful day of education for their students and themselves.
I would suggest that EVERY school task EVERY teacher within the school to come up with a list of their best suggestions to secure the safety of everyone within the school. For example - simple access to the school. Do the teachers consider their schools safe from unauthorized access by individuals who are not suppose to be there? If not, what would the teachers recommend being done? Ask them. Ask them for 10 of their best solutions regardless of costs. Then school administrators can compile a list of all the suggestions. There will certainly be overlapping suggestions so administrators should make a list of the best suggestions and then send them to County/Parish school leadership.
From all the suggestions submitted by teachers through their school administrators the Country/Parish school leadership compiles a list of the best suggestions and they in turn send them to the State where once again a list of the best suggestions can be formulated and that list sent to the Department of Education in Washington DC. Eventually some of the best suggestions possible will reach Congress for Congress to take action where only Congress can authorize it.
More importantly, local schools should review the teachers’ recommendations and they should immediately put in place any recommendation within their power and budget to make happen. Where the budget does not permit something from happen, go to the local community and start a GoFundMe Page if necessary to raise sufficient funds to make it happen sooner rather than later.
If I were a school teacher, I would include in my list of recommendations the following suggestions:
- Ask local police and fire personnel to conduct an immediate safety assessment of my school and provide a report as soon as possible.
- Create an internal policy and provide the means by which doors to classrooms are locked once class has begun.
- Install cameras leading to the outside entrances on all school doors and then have those cameras monitored. Yes that would require someone to be paid to monitor the cameras.
- Armed security guards should be placed in every school. Yes this would require funding but where there is a will, there is always a way.
- Provide teachers with the type of necklace that you see advertised on television for seniors where they can press a button and an outside agency or at least the school administrators are immediately electronically notified that a problem exists somewhere within the school. Immediate notification can save lives whether the problem is a fire, an unruly and violent student or a school shooter.
- In light of how shooters are using Fire Drills as a means to expose more students, Fire Drills should be reexamined to ascertain what is best for students and teachers.
I recently saw where a teacher, imagine that, a teacher invented a simple steel bar that rests alongside and inside each classroom door. When an emergency exists such as a school shooter, it is a simple maneuver to drop the steel bar down across the door to prevent a shooter from entering a classroom assuming the door open inward. I also know that in one school district this idea was simply dismissed. I believe it to be a great idea and therein is a secondary problem – getting agreement on what needs and should be done. That is why I would propose that before one person or administration is permitted to disregard a possible solution that the negative response should be approved or rejected by the person or organization next up the chain or in other words, it would take two disapprovals for a suggestion to be nixed.
Like so many problems, the problem may be a nationwide issue but the solution will be discovered at the local level. Yes it may require Federal Government intervention and funding to make some of the changes happen but a lot can be done locally before it must go to Washington for a solution.
Citizens like me do not like paying taxes when we KNOW that a great deal of fraud and waste exists regarding OUR tax money. But if you give me the opportunity to pay into a fund that I know without any reservations that it would go to improving safety at our local schools, I would be all in as I believe a lot of local citizens would. Don’t’ include it on some tax proposal, make it voluntary but make it accountable by putting local teachers in charge of how the money is use ONLY for safety improvements like door locks, electronic notification devices, cameras, etc.
There you have it, one person’s suggestion on how to attack school safety and combat school shootings. What’s yours?