February 2008 Your Turn

Most “Your Turn” readers say schools need to improve safety -- and not just by installing metal detectors and video cameras. For many of you, safety is ultimately about creating stable environments where students feel secure, welcome, and able to learn.

“I believe the schools are as safe as students -- all students -- believe they are,” said Indiana board member Pat Heiny. “The challenges are those students who feel left out and not an active part of the high school. Let’s work to make each student welcome and engaged and not focus on the guarding, locking down of the high schools.”

Thirty-eight percent of you agreed that “U.S. schools are exceedingly safe,” and another 38 percent said they are “safer than they were, but more needs to be done.” Nineteen percent said schools “are not the safe and secure institutions they need to be,” and 5 percent marked “none of the above.”

“Despite board and administrative discussions on school safety, it is my opinion that nationally most schools are neither safe or secure,” said Georgia board member Harold Wingfield. “It appears that school systems are more reactive than proactive on this issue. Some would argue that costs are the reasons. I would only suggest that after-the-fact actions [in response to disasters] are too little too late to try to correct safety and security issues.”

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