Parents, teachers, and students across the area are still reeling after last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla. With 17 students, teachers, and coaches killed, it was one of the deadliest such attacks in modern American history – and comes on the heels of at least seven known school shootings since the start of the year, bringing the total number killed while at school to 22. Yes, since Jan. 1. It’s a stark reminder that our schools are particularly vulnerable to these acts of violence.
This tragedy has understandably rekindled contentious debates over gun control. But with no clear outcome in sight, every parent and teacher is left wondering how can we best protect our children in the interim? What can we do to keep our students safe?
As a former military officer turned school administrator, one of the first things I consider is a campus’s physical security, particularly at entry and exit points, and the perimeters of school grounds. This remains a critical area of focus for school leaders, as we find improved ways to limit access to our facilities and develop easy-to-follow protocols for monitoring visitors – all while ensuring school remains a warm, welcoming environment for students and their families.