Prevention, Not Gadgets, Called School Safety Key


The Minnesota school massacre this week is a reminder that the solution is not more metal detectors but closer relationships between students and educators, says the Washington Post. Security officials say the slaughter at Red Lake High School suggests it is practically impossible to ensure total safety for students and teachers without turning schools into fortresses. Jeff Weise, the teenage gunman, shared many characteristics with other school killers, including the teens responsible for the shooting rampage at Columbine High School in April 1999.

“We need to work a lot harder on prevention,” said Scott Poland of Cypress-Fairbanks school district in Houston. “We can introduce all the complicated security technology imaginable, but in the end it comes down to how well we know our students.” The number of violent deaths in and around schools rose last year to 49 after dropping three years in a row, says Kenneth Trump of National School Safety and Security Services, an independent firm. Education Department data say violent crime in schools fell significantly between 1992 and 2002. Trump disputes those data because they rely on surveys rather than actual reported incidents. He attributed the rise in violence to factors including cuts in school safety funding and the emphasis on improving standardized test scores.


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