LJWorld.com weblogs First Bell
Readers ask about Lawrence school security
Last week's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is understandably raising questions and concerns among parents in Lawrence and every other school district in America. "Are my children safe?" many want to know. "Would the staff at my child's school know what to do if something like that happened here?"
Here at the Journal-World, we've received many emails and phone calls asking those questions. And they were the first question we asked Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll on Friday shortly after we heard the news of what had happened in Connecticut.
The short answer, according to Doll, is yes. The Lawrence school district does have emergency procedures in place, and they train on those procedures every year.
The logical follow-up question, however, gets a little more complicated. If you want to know exactly what those procedures are, or what kind of training is involved, school officials are reluctant to discuss that, especially for publication in a newspaper or local news website.
The last thing anyone wants is to make our schools more vulnerable. Publishing details of a school's security plans could have the unintended effect of exposing the system's weaknesses or vulnerabilities. That would be irresponsible.
Parents who are concerned about their children's safety certainly have a right to discuss those concerns personally with their school principals and classroom teachers.
That's probably little comfort to anyone who was shaken to the bone by the horror of last week's tragedy, which is to say all of us. It's the kind of event that shatters one's sense of personal security. There is no quick and easy way to build that sense of security back up.
One way that can help, though, is communication. Parents, schools and the community at large all need to work together to protect the safety of our children. And we all need to reassure our children that their safety is our top priority.