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Schools are Living on Borrowed Time

Bob Rogers

Bob Rogers – Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 | Sprinkled among today’s amalgam of stories are some that once again reveal how schools are foolishly living on borrowed time. It’s only a matter of days, hours, minutes maybe, before another school shooting happens and school administrators are unable to develop ways and means to stop it. At the root of the evil, unsurprisingly, is money.

As with any other enterprise, education budgets are part and parcel of the economic life of any school system. That reality forces administrators to live within budgets. Increasingly, most can’t. In the best of times, that reflects the need to raise money from such available resources as new taxes, school athletics and not-for-profit grants as well as tuition increases and special fees for programs such as dramas and musical performances by students that require admission tickets paid by parents who are already footing the education bill.

The emphasis is clearly not on student safety from shooter students who have an assortment of axes to grind, anywhere from teachers who didn’t grade as hoped, to bullied students seeking help by self-protection. The initial result is the increased number of students who are literally packing heat every school day.

Among the challenges administrators face is finding enough money to pay for school resource officers, part-time rent-a-cops or off-duty LEOs looking to pad their usually insufficient pay checks by taking on extra work, asking local law enforcement to add time to other LE duties by increasing surveillance of school property including walking the halls of school buildings, or hiring private armed contractors.

Rather than to create more headaches that involve paying adults to protect students, schools should be lobbying state and federal legislators to finance such static security as metal detectors, electronic single point entrance doors and high tech perimeter fencing designed to keep out of school property anyone not authorized to be there and, yes, including parents who want to demand why teacher this or professor that gave failing grades to kids who spend most of the day texting each other instead of studying assignments.

It is far too easy to blame the gun industry, gun store owners and the NRA for a mass shooting. And cheaper, too. But the problem of school shootings will never be solved either completely or even partially by waiting for someone else to come in and clean up the blood on the floors of classrooms. Nipping the act in the bud before the blooming springs forth is not only cheaper in the long run but by far more effective than waiting until the calendar rolls around to the next opportunity for a student with a gun in his or her backpack to avenge whatever mental catastrophe he or she has conjured up.

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