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What safety procedures does your school use? - Page 2

post #21 of 68
Thread Starter 

One of the things I keep wondering is if there is some kind of 'new normal' emerging; where society has kind of tipped a balance in the wrong direction and these types of incidents might be less rare. It is kind of a disturbing thought.

 

I'm limiting my media exposure to Newtown because it is hard to take in so much sadness and distress. :(
 

post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren View Post

 

 

I'm limiting my media exposure to Newtown because it is hard to take in so much sadness and distress. :(
 

 

I am too.  I cannot watch the news, it is too much. 

post #23 of 68

Maybe I have a different take on the whole thing. But people keep saying our schools are safe. I disagree, because nowhere is safe. It's just that the majority of schools have never been "tested" by a tragic incident like the one that just occurred in CT. So it kind of bothers me when people keep talking about how safe our schools our--reminds me of how everyone kept talking about how safe flying was after 9/11. Flying wasn't (and isn't) safe, it's just that the chances of something happening are relatively low, largely because we (thank God) don't have people trying to blow up planes every day.

 

My son is in K, and we got an e-mail about how safe his school is. They have a system to buzz in visitors, and there are two sets of doors, the internal ones are locked. Well guess what? The CT shooter shot through the glass so the buzzer system didn't help. I am ALL FOR making my son's school safer--I don't care if there's a fraction of a pin's head chance of an incident--no matter how tiny, I want his school to be as safe as possible. So I would be all for replacing the door glass with bulletproof glass, and having an armed guard at the front of the school. To me, it's far better to have these things and mitigate the chances of something happening. I know you can never be 100% secure, but implementing some deterrents might help. And I'd rather have an armed guard at the entrance rather than remove the "gun free" zone designation for schools, and have teachers, parents, etc. packing heat around the school hallways.

post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenpig View Post

because nowhere is safe. 

 

Totally agree. This is the problem. There's nothing that doesn't carry some risk, and our job is to compare the risks and make sensible decisions based on where the payoff in risk reduction lies. Life is fraught with small risks. We're pretty well hard-wired to avoid the immediate and tangible sorts of risks that might have killed our ancestors in droves: falling rocks, predators, aggressive tribes, strange-tasting plants and so on. But we're incredibly bad at assessing minute intangible risk. We over-estimate short-term risk, man-made risk, risk that inspires moral outrage, risk in situations perceived as foreign, risk where we have no illusion of control, risk that is made personal rather conveyed in anonymous terms, and risks undergoing extensive public scrutiny. We underestimate natural risk, daily risk, risks not in the limelight, mundane risk. Your child's risk of dying from slipping in the bathroom is probably higher than his risk of being shot to death in his kindergarten classroom, but you're not covering the bathroom fixtures in latex foam and your child in bubble wrap. His risk of dying on a trip to school is probably higher than his risk of being shot to death, but you put him in his booster seat and strap him in and figure it's all good. 

 

Nowhere is completely and totally safe. That's why we have to learn to live our lives accepting that fact. We need to make sensible changes to safety and security behaviour where the cost-benefit payoff is clear. And not stress over the rest.

 

miranda

post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenpig View Post

But people keep saying our schools are safe. 

 

No one is saying that any place is 100 percent safe. I'm personally saying that we need to make sure our fears are relative to the facts. Seriously, I know parents who won't let their kids play in the front yard for fear of kidnappers but let their kids roam around the back of their van without a seat belt. Kidnapping happens but it's very rare. Car accidents are the #1 killer of children period. Their fears are out of sync with reality. No one says planes are 100 percent safe... they are saying that your risk of injury is far lower than the risk you face every time you step in your bathroom.

 

It's always good to be smart and cautious. It makes sense to have precautions and plans on any school campus. Should we perhaps look at how to graduate more children who feel loved and connected with their own schools? Absolutely. Turning them into fortresses though? Not what I want and I'm not sure will bring down the rate of individuals who target schools. 

post #26 of 68

700

 

Quote:
Their fears are out of sync with reality.

Exactly!

I see most people want what is not true but they want to think it is.

 

All the bullet proof glass in the school won't change a thing. Duck and cover was a joke and in a few years this will be as well.

 

Sadly feel good reality is what most desire and the cost is another generation that will grow up with this reality mentality - I find that to be the real tragedy because it will effect far more vs the number that is saves.

post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I know all about Taber. Heck, I know someone who was in the halls in Brampton in 1975 during Canada's first school shooting (one dead). My point is that these incidents are extremely unusual, and the numbers of deaths are incredibly low and it's important to examine the statistics critically. If you look at shootings in Canadian schools where children are attending and go fifty years or more in history, you can generate a list of 7 deaths. 

 

I'm not saying it never happens. I'm saying that the risk is astronomically low, and it's idiotic to build your life around useless attempts to lower an already astronomically low risk -- since we happily accept much greater risk on an ongoing basis by, say, riding in motor vehicles.

 

Miranda

 

 

Look, I agree with you that there is a low risk. I just don't think that risk and statistics are persuasive arguments for school officials right now. They are acutely aware of their responsibilities for school safety after last Friday.  Many are former teachers who are imagining themselves in the line of fire. They will be remembering disputes with former students and parents and incidents of intruders in their schools that did not turn tragic but could have. They will be concerned about material risk. They will be mindful that even if there is only a slim possibility that something untoward may occur, if it has serious consequences such as injury and death, they are expected to plan for it and try to prevent it from happening. I understand that you need to vent about this and that hyperbole and name-calling are good for an emotional release but that won't help your cause. Step back, breathe, take an objective look and consider their position. If you are a person who tends to think in terms of numbers and statistics, it's hard to understand that there may be other ways of looking at a situation and those other ways aren't necessarily wrong.   

 

Your argument about risk is true, but if you want to keep your school doors unlocked, I think you are more likely to succeed with arguments focused on efficacy. Re-read my post. I provided a couple of suggestions for arguments that locked doors are not effective in preventing spree shootings. 

 

I would also scrutinize the language of the actual policy and how it is implemented. Your earlier post suggests that community activities are now prohibited or severely limited on school grounds. IME, most school door policies are not that restrictive. Parents visit, volunteers help out, community events go on, but everyone is asked to use a single door to enter (usually the front door) and sign in at the office. It really isn't that big of a deal. If your school policy is preventing access to community resources, it sounds like it is going beyond the typical. 

 

As an aside, I suspect that the city-bred idiot is responding to pressure from higher up, probably from the Ministry of Education, to report on and improve school security at every school in every district. School safety is a routine agenda item at most school governance meetings and included in school board, district and regional reports. I imagine that there was a quick request for updated reports after last Friday.  

 

The fact that you know someone who survived a school shooting suggests that they aren't so rare, by the way. I would like to know what thoughts your friend has about school security. Does he or she have any suggestions for appropriate measures? 

post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

It's always good to be smart and cautious. It makes sense to have precautions and plans on any school campus. 

 

One thing that I have changed my mind about since Newtown is the lockdown drill. When the drills were first instituted at my Dd's elementary school, I was unhappy about it. After reading reports about Sandy Hook, I'm pretty convinced that lockdown drills saved lives there. Spoilered since pp have mentioned avoiding reading about it: 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

The killer shot his way into the school. He turned left down the hallway with the kindergarten and 1st grade classes. He passed a classroom that appeared to be empty because that quick-thinking teacher had ushered the students into a bathroom and locked herself in with them. He proceeded on down to other classrooms. In one, the teacher had hidden students in a closet but she remained in the open. She died, as did some of the students who panicked and left the closet. The other students survived.

 

 

 

 Now, there was a lot of misinformation about the events that morning, so I'm not entirely certain that this is how it unfolded. If true, it supports the practice of lockdown drills. I remain unhappy about the need for such drills but I don't object to them anymore. 

post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

700


Exactly!
I see most people want what is not true but they want to think it is.

All the bullet proof glass in the school won't change a thing. Duck and cover was a joke and in a few years this will be as well.

Sadly feel good reality is what most desire and the cost is another generation that will grow up with this reality mentality - I find that to be the real tragedy because it will effect far more vs the number that is saves.

Bullet proof glass will prevent the glass being shot out allowing entry *without* making it feel like a prison. A reasonable compromise. And something the school or township can do. Gun control they cannot enforce.
post #30 of 68

That was very much a vent. No, community activities and community involvement have not been cancelled wholesale as a result of the shooting. But there is a general trend towards this, and some back-story that I didn't get into. The new superintendant is very concerned about safety and liability when community members are in the building, or when children are out of the building. This extends beyond the reaction to the Newtown shooting. Community use of the library has been put on hold since two days ago. But community sports in the gym have been cancelled since the beginning of the school year. Field trips and events that have been taking place for years have been shelved this year due to concern about risk. Volunteers maintaining the community greenhouse can no longer use the washrooms 50 feet from the greenhouse. They have to walk to the other side of the school, wait for the secretary (who has many out-of-office duties and is often gone for 10 or 15 minutes at a time), get signed in, and then walk back to the end of the school to use the washroom that was 50 feet from the greenhouse. The office is not staffed at lunch, so no one is allowed to enter the school building during that time unless they've made special arrangements. A shared-use agreement that was pending between an arts organization and the school for a currently empty classroom has been shelved due to concerns about adequately controlling entrance into the school. So yeah ... there's very much a feeling that the school is separating itself from the community.

 

The ridiculous thing is that the main entrance of the school is directly across the street from an overgrown orchard where black bears hang out during the fall. And it's where all the vehicular traffic is. Forcing children to come in there is probably putting them at more risk for injury and death.

 

My friend who survived the Brampton shooting is in favour of firearm possession being restricted to very narrow segments of the population, but says that the most appropriate reaction to the Newtown shootings is simply "the expression of condolences." End of story.

 

Miranda

post #31 of 68
Forgot to add that, for the longest time, you would hear the argument against making any changes, saying that mass shootings are so rare, the incidence had decreased, etc. Well, we've had several mass shootings this year, nearly an avg of one per month if I'm correct. I'm afraid this sort of thing is on the rise. I think the "risk is low" excuse for not making any assessments or changes is a copout
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenpig View Post

I think the "risk is low" excuse for not making any assessments or changes is a copout

 

In my own case, assessment is what has led me to say the "risk is low." 

 

Miranda

post #33 of 68

I can't help thinking of Michael Moore's documentary "Bowling for Columbine" when reading moominmama's posts.  While Michael Moore has tendencies towards presenting just his particular agenda, I always thought that documentary was on to something exploring how a nation responds to feeling a sense of fear and how that in turn can lead to more gun violence.  There are no shortage of guns in Canada, but there is a difference in how fearful we are of violence.  A scared, isolated person is more likely to react violently than one who is fearful.  One of the things I worry about as a Canadian is that we are becoming more fearful as our American counterparts are.  Also, there is a risk of copycat crimes (Taber, for example, happened eight days after Columbine).  While being Canadian or in a small town may not reduce risk of these events, I do think being in a less fearful culture might.  I (and most of my neighbours) regularly have unexpected visitors walk directly in my unlocked home or across my property.  I wouldn't even think of having a gun ready in case of intruders.  However, most of the community hunts and has access to guns. 

 

As for my own kids' school, it is very small (104 kids, I think, P-12) and rural.  The school is not locked but visitors are asked to sign in at the office.  The school does do drills for school lock downs, as does the rest of the school board.  The main reason for them is in case of non-custodial parents that are a kidnapping risk.  I think this is good enough.  All community recreation, family resources, preschool and fitness programs operate out of the school when not outdoors, so it would be very frustrating if these things were restricted over security and would cause more harm than good. One of the greater risks for rural youth is a lack of meaningful activities to participate in with others, and lack of outlets for busy parents.  It's important to keep community activities up and running.  I think it helps more to have a good plan (such as lock down drills), and good access to mental health and councilling services rather than excessive physical security.  As a PP said, a determined shooter could force his/her way in, anyway, and as another PP said, if the shooter is a student a locked school would make no difference.
 

post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 Now, there was a lot of misinformation about the events that morning, so I'm not entirely certain that this is how it unfolded. If true, it supports the practice of lockdown drills. I remain unhappy about the need for such drills but I don't object to them anymore. 

 

Like I said, I'm all for practical precautions. Lock down drills are good. Our district uses them pretty liberally and the kids don't even bat an eye at it (like if a store is held-up down the street, if a police pursuit is coming their direction... 2 weeks ago there was one because a parent was unruly in the office.) We automatically get texts and emails letting us know whats up. Like I said, my kids often have police presence on their campuses but they are friendly and discreet.

 

I just don't know if in the heat of the moment is the best time to instill drastic chances. We don't want to create a prison atmosphere in our kids which will not make our students safer. I don't want little kids suspended because they brought a pearing knife to peel their orange (that's a true story.) If anything, it'll cause more resentment and anger towards the system. 

 

The reality is, this is too emotional a situation to discuss right now. 

post #35 of 68

I think I'm with the Amish on this one, and after reading what the reactions are around the U.S., I'm even more grateful to be living in a community that is not full of fear.

post #36 of 68
I teach at a very small community school (50 students) and we have our doors locked. As a previous poster said, it's more to do with custody issues than anything. Parents were very upset when we did lock our doors, they felt like they were unwelcome. They have to be buzzed in. Any volunteer has to have a criminal record check done, even in order to help out with a field trip. Lockdown procedures are practiced regularly. I am not afraid that someone is going to come into our school with a gun, but when you are in a position of responsibility for children, especially a large group of them, you take it seriously. It is my job to make sure they are safe, and if it helps to have a locked door (and I have personally had 2 situations in which custody issues were averted due to a locked door) then so be it.

I saw an article today about arming teachers and that is just unreal to me. Guns have no place in a school, ever. I cannot even imagine having teachers armed, and find it hard to believe that it's even up for debate.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Bullet proof glass will prevent the glass being shot out allowing entry *without* making it feel like a prison. A reasonable compromise. And something the school or township can do.

 

this is so implausible (at least in my real world) - one, we can't even afford teachers (massive cuts) and two, it's totally impracticable from a logistic point- our doors even if you use bullet proof glass are no more safe than out windows right into the class rooms (at the same levels) and there is no way to do all that, besides we have outside playgrounds and athletic fields at the higher levels- they are not inclosed in bullet proof glass so it makes it a mute point- if it's going to happen, there will pay a way to do

 

our playgrounds and fields are not enclosed and no way to do it unless it does become a total walled in jail and even so at our jails (county level) they are just wire and bullets go right through that too, there are countless other things as well, we don't enclose out busses/cars dropping off and any one can get near that too

post #38 of 68
Quote:
 I cannot even imagine having teachers armed, and find it hard to believe that it's even up for debate.

 in the CT case, it does seem there was someone who was well armed and that one volunteered at one point at the school

 

I certainly don't want to see more with guns.

post #39 of 68
Maybe bullet proof glass is not possible in all schools, but at that particular school, he shot out the glass in the door to gain entry. Bullet proof glass would have prevented that. However, since his mother worked there (I believe I read that), he would have known about other possible entry points. It's hard to say for sure until there's been time to process what happened. In the meantime, however, schools are expected to continue to function and parents want their children to be kept safe.
post #40 of 68

3 kids at 2 different schools. One has zero safety procedures. There are several entrances to the two small school buildings, all are unlocked. There is no office to check into, during the day there are no staff but teachers in the classrooms on campus. Parents wander around in and out of rooms. There is no lockdown practices. They practice fire drills, and do follow the county school's lockdowns so if the big schools have them so does this little one but it consists of the teacher reading to the students in the back of the room. Playground is unfenced is actually a massive hill so the kids just run wild all over. We get more worried about bears, mountain lions, and sledding accidents then anything else. There was talk a few years ago about locking doors and getting a keypad with a code, it never happened. There simply was not enough staff to deal with the logistics of such a thing on a daily basis. And no money for new doors. They finally just even got a fence for the PK playground to keep those kids from running into the parking lot, and that took a massive fundraiser to fund that. 

 

 

 

DD1 is at a different school. Only one door is kept unlocked, visitors are supposed to sign in at the desk. Lock downs are practiced. Other then that, they are fairly lax compared to other schools. 

 

 

There would be zero money at any of these schools for bulletproof glass. Even DD1's next school that she will going to, they are just trying to keep the (leaky) roof over the kid's heads. There are no extras. 

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