Sound Off

Sound Off: School security

I am wondering what kind of measures have been taken here in Lawrence schools regarding security. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, have there been added measures taken?

Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll said the district has security plans in place to deal with a range of emergency situations, including intruders in the building. However, school officials declined to discuss the specifics of those plans for publication. Improving security in elementary schools is also one of the elements of a districtwide improvement plan that the Lawrence school board hopes to fund with a bond proposal they will put before voters in April. People who have specific questions or concerns about security issues at any school may contact the building principal or the district office.


Benjamin Roberts 5 years, 5 months ago

"Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll said the district has security plans in place to deal with a range of emergency situations, including intruders in the building. However, school officials declined to discuss the specifics of those plans for publication."

There is only so much that can be said about the ability of the "Guest Sign-In Sheet" to protect children in a defense free zone.

"Improving security in elementary schools is also one of the elements of a districtwide improvement plan that the Lawrence school board hopes to fund with a bond proposal they will put before voters in April."

There is no doubt that this angle will be used without reserve to promote the upcoming bond vote. However, if support is expected for this issue alone, Dr Doll will need to supply specific dollar allocations and security improvement information.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Did a buzzer work any better? No. No it didn't.

GMom05 5 years, 5 months ago

"There is no doubt that this angle will be used without reserve to promote the upcoming bond vote." Absolutely! They will use it as a way to get your vote and then watch them slide in 'New Construction' in the elementary schools. Surprisingly, several of our schools are over crowded now and we need to add more classrooms. Didn't we just close a school? Don't we still own three former elementary school buildings in this district? Why in the world would I want you to spend my tax dollars on new classroom construction?!?!? Vote NO on the new bond issue.

Jeff Barclay 5 years, 5 months ago

I would prefer to be buying books and paying teachers more, but my vote goes for armed security guards in every school.

KiferGhost 5 years, 5 months ago

The typical kneejerk reaction of Americans. While we are blowing kids up in other countries with drones we'll react to extremely isolated cases as though every school is not under attack and continue to teach kids to live in neurotic fear. Already seen it with simply allowing kids to walk to school, no can't do that, the boogieman is out there to steal children. And then we wonder why more and more kids are nuts.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

We need to let our president and congress people know that indiscriminate killing of people anywhere is not acceptable.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 5 months ago

So you believe that we haven't done that? Is that not known to be SOP? Do you believe that our leaders care about our desires? Can we change that? Do you believe that the public sector still has the power, will and ability to change governmental policy? Does our populace have the intelligence, organization, power and determination to do it?

I guess we'll see.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

Sigh! That is just really depressing. The only answer I have is that we have to keep trying. Otherwise we give up and die.

Sorry if I insinuated that people weren't already protesting.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 5 months ago

The one security guard at Columbine was in the parking lot armed with only a handgun, while the crazy criminals had a rifle. Had the guard been in the building (close quarters combat), or armed with a rifle, it could have greatly altered the outcome. The second officer on scene was a motorcycle cop who was also armed with only a handgun.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

Barclay, no suggestion of paying more in taxes for armed security guards? Thought not. Everyone wants a fireman when their house is on fire, good roads, a police officer to catch a burglar, a security guard to protect their children, but no one wants to pay for it. And the NRA is cozy with the tea party, who do not want to pay for anything.

Jonathan Becker 5 years, 5 months ago

How did those two armed security guards work out at Columbine? Ask the 14 families still grieving their opinion. My votes goes for more books and paying teachers more?

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 5 months ago

The one security guard at Columbine was eating lunch in the parking lot and armed with only a handgun, while the crazy criminals had a rifle. Had the deputy had the courage to enter the building, been in the building (close quarters combat), or armed with a rifle, it could have greatly altered the outcome. The second officer on scene was a motorcycle cop who was nearby and also armed with only a handgun. The police waited two hours before entering the building--heroes!

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

Shoot, why not just give every kid a gun, Barclay. There, fixed it for ya with a pun.

Stop the mass hysteria, people. Armed guards have never been 100% effective. That so called solution is too simplistic and like a giant bandaid. We need surgery on this issue, not bandaids.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

But in other industrialized nations, those that ban guns do not have as many homicides - period.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

That would be Japan, bigtoe, not China.

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 5 months ago

Do you know how many doors there are into a school? No way will one or two armed guards prevent anything. If someone wants to come in and do harm, there's not a whole lot that can be done to prevent it. Other than making all our schools just like prisons. If that's what you want, then go ahead.

hannahss 5 years, 5 months ago

Exactly! Where would this guard be within the building? The last school that I taught in had at least 6 entrances, most with glass doors. All were locked during school hours, but nobody could cover all of them at once. Even without gaining entry, someone bent on destruction could simply walk up to the classroom windows and have at it! Reasonable vigilance is a good idea, but I would hate to teach in a state of paranoia and fear, and think that the effect on children would be very negative.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

Its seems that many are willing to sacrifice a few children and other innocent people now and then to avoid even reasonable gun restrictions such as limits on the size of magazines.

Until parents are willing to stand up and protest as loudly for their children's safety as the gun nuts do for their toys, nothing will happen.

There doesn't need to be a debate about gun control - the time for debate is long past - it simply needs to happen.

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 5 months ago

There have been way more people killed with fertilizer and box knives than there have been children killed in school shootings. Where's your cry to outlaw those?

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

If you would stop thinking in terms of NRA bumpersticker slogans, you would see the glaring flaws in your argument.

While it may be true that, in the history of the world, knives have been used to kill more people than guns have, knives are much more inefficient. The issue isn't stopping all murder (which would clearly be impossible), the issue is limiting the amount of damage a single person can do in a few seconds. Clearly, a person with a knife is going to kill fewer people than a person with a gun.

Because your argument is so overly simplistic its easily taken to extremes: Nuclear weapons have killed far fewer people than knives, so clearly we shouldn't ban private ownership of nuclear weapons since we haven't banned knives. The same lack of logic is present in the ridiculous "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument - "nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people". Guns (and nuclear weapons) are used to easily and quickly kill lots of people, unlike knives.

Fertilizer and knives have legitimate purposes other than killing people that outweigh the risk that they might be used to kill people, unlike guns with high capacity magazines. While its true that fertilizer bombs can kill a lot of people, assembling and delivering them (especially after the Oklahoma City bombing) is a lot more onerous than buying and using guns with high capacity magazines.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Since he specifically said it wouldn't, your objection is misplaced.

"stopping all murder (which would clearly be impossible)"

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

Another knee-jerk gun nut response for the status quo that will do even less to solve the problem.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

So if we can't "completely eliminate" all mass murders we shouldn't do anything? That's your argument, Cheeseburger?

Jafs is correct, I'm not so naive to think we can completely eliminate all mass murder, but we can at least make it a little less easy and quick.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

Seriously, what is your point? If we can't have a perfect solution we should take no action at all? Or maybe you just want to obfuscate by calling all common sense responses "knee jerk" reactions. Go back to quoting NRA bumper stickers if it makes you feel better.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Box cutters have been banned from airlines, and I'm pretty sure fertilizer sales are now tracked.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

Thank you, Snakefist, for putting it so well, but you're trying to be reasonable and you can't reason with those who so firmly believe that the answer is more guns, despite any evidence to the contrary.

Do we really want to live in a world where we have to be constantly protected by armed guards or always carry a gun to protect ourselves? Do we want our children living in constant fear? There has to be a better answer.

As for those who base their argument against sensible gun controls laws on the fear that the next step will be to take away all your guns, I think that is either disingenuous or showing a large amount of misplaced paranoia. I have never heard anyone, even the most avid anti-gun person ever advocate that, even in the privacy of their own homes.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

It will do more to address (not "solve" or "completely eliminate") the problem than your absurd denial. What is your perfect solution, Cheeseburger?

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

No one expects to "guarantee complete safety", the point is to make the world safer with reasonable restrictions on guns.

Do you think the police should stop trying to prevent murder, robbery, and rape because they can't guarantee complete safety? Do you think the government should stop fighting terrorists because it can't guarantee complete safety? When you have a problem, do you do nothing because you can't guarantee a perfect solution? I'm going to assume you're being purposefully dense at this point.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

The pro-choice on abortion people were asked on these boards if we would accept any restrictions, apparently on the assumption that we didn't want any, although I've never heard anybody advocate that. Several of us answered.

I ask the anti-gun control people: What restrictions will you accept? Are there restrictions that you consider acceptable? What laws could be enacted to try to keep guns out of the hands of the "bad" guys?

DillonBarnes 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm glad you asked, here are my suggestions: Note: these focus on ending gun violence, not simply mass shootings, which make up a small fraction of actual gun violence.

  1. End the war on drugs. This is a huge feat, and would take years of work to shift from prohibiting drugs to regulation of drugs. However, I think this would cut down on a lot of the gun violence that centers around gang activity and the drug trade that often fuels is.
  2. A note on the so-called gunshow loophole. This is not so much a loophole as simply free commerce. People are allowed to sell things to other people, and don't have to report those sales to the government. Gun dealers are still required to run the NICS check and I believe you still required to go through an FFL if you are crossing state boarders. The reason any legislation won't work to reduce gun crime use is because a majority of gun crimes are committed with firearms acquired through a straw purchase. So, if an individual wants a gun and knows he cannot legally have it, he may simply pay another individual who is legally allowed to own it a certain amount to go buy it for him. That all being said, I would accept a requirement that all person to person gun sales must at least run a NICS check. You would mean that someone is not aware of the buyer's history can sell the firearm with confidence because of the passed NICS check. It is very important that these transfers are not used as a way to track the guns.
  3. Here's a big one. I would like to see put in place a system where a psychologist or psychiatrist would be able to deem a person unfit to own a firearm for a certain period of time. In many of the mass shootings, there were well known signs the individual was unstable and prone to violence. However, he may not have actually done anything that would result in someone confiscating the firearms. There would need to be a system in place where the individual would be re-evaluated and/or the individual can challenge the decision. Although I do think this system is important, I would remind you that many mass shooters also acquire their guns illegally.
  4. The final, and the one I think most people would find hardest to swallow, allow concealed carry in more places. Gun-free zones DO NOT WORK, we see this time and time again. You cannot put up a sign and keep out guns, if you really want a zone without guns or weapons, you need a well staffed security system. Those who carry concealed are extremely safe individuals, and are much less likely to commit a crime than your average person. I believe allowing these people to carry everywhere, would reduce mass shootings and/or reduce the casualties associated with them.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, it would have to built with a lot of checks and balances so what you describe, wouldn't happen.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

Gosh, Cheeseburger, do you think these solutions will completely guarantee safety and eliminate mass murders with guns? Because that's the ridiculous test you set for my suggestion which is a lot more practical than ending the war on drugs.

And do we really want to have more people high on drugs at the same time we have more people carrying concealed weapons?

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

cheeseburger, a long jail sentence will help deter those "doctors", but it won't stop them completely.

elliottaw 5 years, 5 months ago

Here are gun controls that I would like to see

  1. All weapons must have their serial number registered to the owner (give people one year to get this done on current weapons all new weapons done when purchased)

  2. Stiff fines if your weapon is stolen at all (which you would know by the serial number)

  3. Limits on magazine size (12 or so rounds)

  4. Ban all automatic weapons for civilians

  5. You should have to take a written and prove your profeciancy with a firearm before you are permitted to carry it, and this must be done every few years to requalify to carry

  6. All states to have a set waiting period and a more though background check

elliottaw 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes if someone break sin and steals your weapons you should be fined, they should be locked up and secure, you can get safes that let you just use your finger prints to open them if you needed them in a hurry, if you want to display them remove the firing pin so they they can not be used. Then you could report the firearm stolen (a much smaller fin if it had no pin) so local shops know to look for people trying to buy a new pin. For that make and model

Maybe it is me being ignorant but why would a blind person be aloud to carry a weapon, they would have no way of knowing if it was safe to fire, but maybe this is just my lack of knowledge on that subject. But either way they should still have to take the test to prove they can be considered safe to do so.

elliottaw 5 years, 5 months ago

You can buy a biometric safe to sit right next to your bed if you choose and keep a loaded gun in there, all I am saying is people need to be held responsible for not being responsible for how their guns are stored and kept. I.e. the people this summer who kept their behind the front door, while it was unlocked, and where shocked it was stolen during the little out break of break ins we had here

DillonBarnes 5 years, 5 months ago

No. 5: Although I'm generally against requirements for gun ownership, I would concede this point. Classes would have to be readily available and affordable and should err in favor of the citizen. For example, if the issuing agency fails to qualify a person in a timely manner, the person could still legally carry.

I would disagree with most of your other points, but I'll make a special note on number 4. Since 1934, there has only been one, count it, ONE, homicide by a civilian with an automatic weapon. You'd be better to ban rubber bans if you want to save lives.

elliottaw 5 years, 5 months ago

We are given the right to own weapons not the right to carry them every where you go, classes are out there now but are not a requirement, if you are so scared you need to take your gun with you everywhere you should have to prove you can be trusted with it, same as a drivers license. I don't think that is asking for much, and being as it currently takes months to get a permit this could be done while you wait on the paper work.

Deb Engstrom 5 years, 5 months ago

Currently, in spite of the recent tragedy, kids are very safe in school. Across the board, schools are doing an excellent job of keeping our kids safe without armed guards.

Devon Kissinger 5 years, 5 months ago

School officials declined to comment because they have their collective heads buried solidly in the sand in denial and haven't done anything.

windex 5 years, 5 months ago

Colt, school officials haven't commented because currently there is no way to keep kids at school safe from crazy people with guns. We'd have to build giant, bullet-proof walls around the school complexes so that kids at recess, on the soccer field, marching band, etc., would be secure, and then arm the single entrance. I'm sure Johnny Taxpayer will be very enthusiastic about paying for all this.

Devon Kissinger 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't presume to be a security specialist but this I know, hiding behind a no guns sign isn't going to stop someone bent on causing harm. One entrance in and out is a good start but having no defense inside it does no good.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm also not a security specialist, but I know that more guns is not the answer to increasing gun violence.

hannahss 5 years, 5 months ago

One entrance is unworkable in most cases. There are times we have to get students OUT quickly in order to keep them safe. Even in day to day foot traffic, one entrance/exit would be a bottleneck in most buildings. If someone blocked the one entrance/exit, there could be even more danger with no way out. I would guess that most people with simple solutions to security issues simply have not spent time in a school when they were the ones responsible for student safety. I haven't seen a single fool-proof suggestion yet, or even a semi fool-proof idea.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

I can't wait to be somewhere when someone accidentally gets bumped, gets paranoid that someone is trying to pick his pocket or steal her purse and despite no ability to hit a still target, much less a moving target, pulls a gun.

Most people don't know how to handle a gun and never will. The first time they enter a confrontation and pull their weapon, their hand will probably shake and they'll hit some thing, or some one other than their intended target. Even worse - get themselves shot.

Arming every one is definitely not the answer when over 26% of our adult population has some type of mental illness of which less than half get treatment..

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

I have a concealed carry license, and in the class I attended there was at least one woman who shouldn't have been given the license. She didn't know anything about guns, and sounded paranoid. But she got a license anyway.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

I was wrong. We can actually have a conversation about guns without too much hysteria and name calling.

I would agree with most of the suggestions made, specifically by DillonBarnes and elliottaw. One exception is the concealed carry. I just don't see the evidence that even a trained and stable bystander is going to be able to do more good than harm. Even police, who are well trained in emergency situations and are answering a call and know who the "bad guy" is don't necessarily win. I would like to see statistics on this---where would one look? Too many times I've tried to search the internet and can't find what I want.

elliottaw 5 years, 5 months ago

I am not saying they would do better or worse with training, I just simply believe people should at least prove they can correctly use and carry a weapon before we just say OK your history is clean go get them. They do t have to know how every weapon should work but they should know how to use theirs and prove they can shot straight at least in a calm environment to be able to carry it around the general public. Not much different then a drivers license, which for the record I believe people should have to retest every 10 years or so to prove they can still do it safely

MrClean66 5 years, 5 months ago

These are some good measures, but we need to be willing to pay for them.

FlintHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

I have a short question for those of you posting on here who are advocating armed security guards: Who do you propose pay for those armed guards?

Does it seem to anyone else that the same legislators, Congressional members and pundits who advocate against adequate funding for schools are calling for armed teachers and armed security guards?

I don't get it. Or maybe I do, and I don't want to accept the illogical rhetoric.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Remember Kent State when troops were ordered to shoot unarmed students. Like in communist China.

Kind of like what happened in Connecticut. Guns have been the problem not the solution.

Look at Columbine .... again guns are the problem.

Look at how bigger guns are killing probably millions of innocent mothers,children,fathers in the war for oil control. Thousands upon thousands of our own military are coming home dead or disabled due to bigger war guns.

We arm the world with big guns yet where is world peace?

How have more and more guns brought peace and tranquility anywhere?

The USA gov't sells weapons to Turkey,Saudi Arabia and others who then sell these guns to their factions of choice that sometimes come back and kill USA soldiers.

Sure more guns on campus so that perhaps a blazing exchange of gun fire can erupt in the name of saving lives. That would depend how many are caught in the cross fire.

More guns legally in the hands of racists and/or white supremacist groups ..... you bet.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

How about a system kind of like what banks have? A button or remote switch that can alert law enforcement their assistance is requested STAT quietly. This could be worn on a belt, the wrist or as a necklace by staff members who are suddenly confronted with a matter.

Sure some calls may turn out not to be all that serious but would promote the "better safe than sorry" approach.

This remote STAT/ALERT set up would be far more efficient than calling 911. Sometimes 911 entails a lot of chit chat when in fact getting the assistance as a STAT ALERT would make more sense.

This STAT ALERT could also be notifying the school principals,superintendent and any law enforcement person who might be on site.

Law Enforcement as a security officer likely would be best because "security officers" may not necessarily have law enforcement capability nor training in dealing with an intense situation. This on site law enforcement person could be advising any law enforcement responding to a STAT/ALERT as to the exact location and to what extent has the situation become.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

Why are gun owners against registration? Why are they against having to carry a real license? Are they afraid that they couldn't pass the test. I recently got my concealed carry. There was a woman there who didn't know how to load a gun, hold it, or keep her finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. She passed. She was also paranoid. If I ever see the woman again, I will NOT go up to her and ask for directions or even say hi. It freaks me out that she has a gun.

I would be willing to go through military style firearms training, and pass a vigorous test. I would be willing to go through a psych evaluation every few years to keep a license. Yes, there are ways to acquire guns illegally, but the nut cases who have made the news recently had legal guns. Most mentally ill people do not have the contacts or savvy to buy guns from an illegal gun dealer. You would still have the street gun violence, but not the psycho killings.

All anyone is asking is that gun ownership comes with certain requirements, including not showing your mentally ill, antisocial son how to shoot a gun. If the mother wasn't already paying for her stupidity, then I for one would be calling for her arrest.

MrClean66 5 years, 5 months ago

Does the school district's plan include maintaining the current reduction of School Resource Officers in the Middle Schools? SROs are a great resource for the schools, but the police department cannot fund them entirely and their mission is twofold; law enforcement education and school safety. Oftentimes, the SROs are in the classroom. In addition to the SRO presence, our schools need armed security. Video surveillance and unarmed security are absolutely useless in preventing disaster; an unarmed guard at best can be a good witness and, at worst, another victim. All the posters claiming armed guards in the schools to be a knee jerk reaction will be the same people arguing we did nothing to protect our students when disaster strikes in our schools. Our educators have been trained in evacaution and lockdown drills and that is great, but lets face it many of these shooters have been too (after all, many were once students too). Locking a classroom door and turning off a light may buy you a few seconds, but a guard with a loaded gun will save you many lives.

MrClean66 5 years, 5 months ago

Gun control does not deter a piece of $hi_ from obtaining a gun, just keep that in mind.

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 5 months ago

There have been two school shootings in the past 12 years. Columbine, which had armed security guards present. .....and this latest one in Connecticut that had a security system that you had to be "buzzed in" at a door. Both are things that people are screaming about that we need in ALL schools now. Doesn't anyone see the irony of that??

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Lets ban the instruments that abortion doctors use... after all they kill children also... it is not the basturd using them... it is the instrument itself.

James Minor 5 years, 5 months ago

School guards, teachers, and staff, all armed is not a solution to the gun control problem. It is a bandaid that ignores the real issue. Where will the school personnel store the guns and how will they be able to get to them in an emergency. If the teacher, for example, stores the gun in their desk a student could steal it. A more reasonable solution would be to control the guns with more than six shots. If magazines were sized for each gun with six, twelve, or more shots, then the gun owner would be limited to the gun they could purchase based on their license. Example: A 12 shot magazine is made to not fit into a six shot gun. If the gun owner wants to increase the magazine size of their current gun - they can't. If they want a gun that holds more than six shots they have to buy another gun that does hold more than six shots and they have to have a special license to purchase it. If they are caught with a gun with more than six shots and doesn't have the proper license, they go to jail. All assault weapons are banned and individuals found with one in their possession with will be forced to prove they are licensed to own one. If they are not licensed to own one and purchased the gun before the ban and prove they are the owner, will be compensated through a buy back program. The above does not solve all the gun control problems, but it is a good start!!!

moliemolie 5 years, 5 months ago

Gun control worked in australia.

One highlight - "In the last 16 years, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia has fallen by more than 50 percent."

If mental health is the issue I assume you are for more rigorous background checks that include a mental health screening?

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

Do you really think that the guy who killed all those children, who didn't talk to people and didn't like to be touched, and didn't really want to be around people would have sought out a street gun dealer to buy some guns. Yes, there will always be illegal guns, but his mother's legal guns, which shouldn't have legally, morally and wisely been allowed in her house with her son were readily available to him. Maybe she would have bought them illegally, but I'll bet not. And she didn't have to buy the illegally, did she? She is just as responsible for having these kinds of guns around a son who she knew was not mentally "normal" as her son who pulled the trigger.

Are any of you NRA members willing to allow the police the authority to temporarily confiscate guns if a person has been reportedly acting mentally ill? Are you willing to turn in a person that you see at a gun shop or firing range that is acting unstable? How many of this mother's gun buddies thought she was a fool to teach her anti-social son to shoot?

FlintHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

One of the early news articles (NYT, I think) reported that he had tried to buy a gun but was unable to get a permit. If true, his initial planning may not have included using his mother's weapons.

James Minor 5 years, 5 months ago

Arming school guards is the answer??? Wasn't there a "Wanna Be Cop" in Florida getting ready to go to trial for shooting an unarmed young man for wearing a hoodie and skittles??? You want those types of people to walking the halls of schools? If you read my post it is controlling the manufacture of guns and passing laws that limit the sale of assault weapons. As for the number of horrific crimes, using your poor calculation starting with 5, that equals hundreds who were directly impacted, thousands with increasing fear, and millions wondering why a better gun control policy is not passed. Improving mental health issues where those that need it can get it is a long term goal and needs to happen. Passing a realistic gun control policy can happen in 2013.

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 5 months ago

Banning cocaine, meth, heroin, etc. has worked really well hasn't it?

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