Stuff Versus People?

After a school shooting occurred in their district last week, school leaders in Madison Local Schools are reacting with new “safety measures”. These include:

·       Purchasing two security wands to check students as they enter the building

·       Hiring another school resource officer

·       Training selected staff members to carry firearms.

·       Adding metal blinds to classrooms doors.

·       Participating in Ohio’s free tip line program

These law enforcement-based improvements are in response to a shooting that occurred in the school’s cafeteria that injured four students. While we are always glad to see schools taking action to improve safety, let’s raise a troublesome question – is any money, time, or resources being allocated to training the staff and students? Will everyone at Madison Local Schools be any better trained or empowered to respond as a result of these expenditures? For a fraction of the price of these security-based measures, teachers and students could be trained and empowered to not only respond but also prevent a variety of crisis events – not just a shooting.

While buying “stuff”, hiring more cops, or adding more guns to the school environment may feel good in the short term, is it really addressing the problem? Why not invest in a comprehensive, long term solution – training and empowering all school stakeholders. Let's hope that the district will make this sound investment as well.