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Security for Your Child's School—How Do You Feel about It?

Posted by Anita Johnston

Ever since I was a little girl, I was taught by my parents that school was a place where you could expand your mind and learn about the potential you have within yourself, and become whatever you wanted to be in life. With the passing of time, these ideals have not changed, but have actually expanded further for our kids than anyone could possibly have imagined.

Unfortunately, so has crime and violence; we hear about it on TV and the radio, read about it in newspapers and magazines. And school shootings have sadly become a regular occurrence.

Since 2008, our school boards have implemented lock-down plans for all schools where we live on Prince Edward Island. Each and every school has to practice their emergency procedure in the event of a real situation. These drills are meant to prepare students and staff for something as terrifying as a mad gunman storming the school, while at the same time instilling the need for a calm and calculated response. Each school also has designated “safe areas”; that is, they have no (or limited) windows, and doors can be locked or barricaded shut.

Our district school board has taken the security of our schools one step further by initiating an identification system for all staff and visitors. Permanent staff were issued picture identification cards that are to be worn when they are in the building, so that they may be distinguished from other adults. Any visitors, volunteers or substitute staff are to sign in at the school office and put on a temporary color-coded identification tag that is to be worn while they are in the school. They are also required to go back to the office, sign out and return the visitors pass to an office employee. Not only do our schools have the identification system, they also have video surveillance cameras pointing down the halls to watch over our students and keep an eye on their every move. This is all in case there is an incident like assault, vandalism or arson either by students or by someone breaking into the school after hours.

The district school board says they want to make sure, “first and foremost”, that when our children leave home they are coming into a safe and secure facility. I have to agree on this one, at least. (The school board and I actually agree on something, Wow!!!)

But there are a lot of pros and cons on this subject — just like everything else, there’s a good side and a bad side. Which side are you on I’d love to read your comments, whether you’re for or against making schools secure.

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