Posted 2/27/13 by Common Good
Lenore Skenazy is the author of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” which launched the anti-helicopter parenting movement. She’s going to be posting here from time to time on issues of interest to Common Good supporters. As Lenore puts it, she’s ready to make “America the Home of the Brave again, not the Home of the Bureaucrats So Stupid that a Hazmat Crew Gets Called to a High School When a Student Brings in a Mercury Thermometer. (Which really happened a few months back, in Florida.)” And here’s her outrage of the week. Chime in!
Hi Common Good Readers! Here’s a letter that may remind you of “safety” measures being taken in your own neighborhood. If so, we’d like to hear from you. There’s strength in numbers, and if enough parents, teachers, principals and plain old citizens feel that the new rules aren’t doing any good, we can push back together. So read this, then write us!
Dear Lenore: I took my kids to Sunday school a few weeks ago and the door we usually go in had a sign on it saying that we could no longer enter there. Everyone needs to go in the door on the other side of the building. Never mind that to get there, people now have to walk their children through the entire parking lot, which was already congested. (So much for “safety!”)
As I was walking my son to his classroom, I saw the woman in charge of Sunday school guarding one of the doors, waving away the people hoping to be let in. I asked her about the new rule and she said, "I implemented it for safety. Before, we had people going in and out of six different doors. It just wasn't safe." As we walked away from her, my 7-year-old son whispered, "Why is that not safe, Mommy?"
I couldn’t answer.
Then I picked up my 11-year-old daughter from her Sunday school class across the street. She told me that instead of a normal lesson that day, they had a police officer come talk about personal safety. “Personal safety” evidently means telling the kids details about several child abductions that have happened over the last 30 years.
As we were picking up my son from his class, I told my daughter that we must now walk around the building because they want everyone to go in and out of the same door. She asked, "Won't that make it easier for someone who wanted to shoot or bomb people, because everyone will be in the same place?"
Monday morning, I headed to the elementary school to change the marquee, as I have done for the past seven years. I pressed the buzzer and instead of just opening the door as usual, the secretary asked me who I was over the intercom. Never mind that there was a video camera and she could see me! She let me in and I saw that she had a woman standing over her who’s evidently a security advisor.
I walked back to get the marquee letters in the office and she told me I needed to sign in, even though I do not even enter the main part of the school. I do the marquee outside.
The only ray of hope came when I was leaving and overheard the office manager, principal, and secretary complaining to each other about how the new safety rules they are being forced to implement don't even seem to make anyone safer.
I keep thinking about the schools of my youth that had all of the doors open all day, every day, with no one monitoring who came or went. The schools today have all implemented locked doors and buzzers and signing in, yet school shootings still occasionally happen. Why does anyone think more and more "safety" rules are going to stop them? If all of the safety procedures so far have not stopped these incidents, why will more safety procedures work? – Puzzled in Plano
P.S. The school district just voted to put armed guards at each of its 72 schools.