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Protecting our students

— Last week we had a meeting for parents to explain the security measures that we have in place in Liverpool Central School District buildings. After we showed the folks in the audience what security measures we had in place, we asked the really important question of the night: “Do you believe that the district should add further measures to our security protocol? And, if so, what?”

What ensued was a very thoughtful discussion, I thought. There were clearly those in attendance who thought that the security measures that we have in place were a good base (but probably needed to be enhanced going forward). There were those who thought the district should rapidly assimilate additional security efforts (like metal detectors, additional security personnel, bulletproof glass, alarms on exterior doors, security laminates and the like). And, there were those who definitely believed that the next security measure in all of our schools should be providing armed personnel within them.

The decision over “guns at school” is, of course, not isolated to Liverpool. It is a national debate. A portion of the American public believes that the only way to stop a gunman intent on mayhem is to have the capacity to inflict deadly force against him/her.On the flipside, many citizens have considered the prospect of having their children attend an “armed camp” and have determined that such a practice will distort the learning environment and create “prison-like” institutions. Currently, no immediate compromise solution would appear to sate both groups.

The right balance of security measures will be an ongoing discussion for Liverpool and every school in the United States. In the end, it will be up to citizens/parents as to how much is enough and what measures should be incorporated into a school district’s security plan and what things should not. The security measures that we considered 10 or 20 years ago were often met with resistance. Many people at that time thought that measures that we take for granted today (e.g. locking exterior doors when children are in the building) were an unnecessary nuisance stifling free access to a public facility. Few would argue this today; in fact, most would suggest that a school is being capricious if their student security system does not include such measures and are rigidly enforced.

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