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March 2018 - Posts
There has been unprecedented attention to school safety in the wake of the Florida school shooting last month.  Last week thousands of students nationwide participated in a call for stricter gun laws in an effort to slow the access to weapons used in school shootings. Just this weekend a march in Washington D.C. was organized by students, and there were sister marches all over the country.  Port Townsend students at all three schools participated in the event on March 14, and many area students went to Seattle to march there as well on March 24. The Board of Directors worked through many topics in their most recent meeting, which included discussion around school safety and what more can be done to safeguard our students, staff and community.  The following is a brief summary of the discussion. All of the directors agreed that the district has made many investments in the schools in an effort to make them safer.  For the most part these improvements have been paid for from the capital levy dollars supported by voters in 2012. These investments include cardlocks on doors at Blue Heron and the high school, lighting at the high school, leveling walkways, and security cameras.  The directors agreed that we need to continue to work on our local safeguards, preparedness, and training. However, Director White used an analogy that attempted to simplify the role of schools in this complex problem. I will try to paraphrase his words.  Imagine we are dealing with a leaky roof and we focus our efforts on the bucket to catch the drops and avoid damage to our home. When we have a leak in our roof, a temporary fix is to catch the drips in the bucket. The worse the leak, the bigger the bucket.  One can continue to get bigger buckets, but the leak remains. Eventually the leak must be fixed. Of course, school keycards, single point entry, security cameras, school resource officers, drills, and other training are all important. But, they are represented by the bucket.  Until our society decides to place reasonable limits on access to firearms, and invests in adequate mental health treatment, the leaks will continue. There are no easy solutions to the complexity of school shootings.  Our district will continue to invest, and likely tighten access to the buildings further.  However, no building can be completely secured short of a prison. Our students, nationwide, are letting their voices be heard. They are calling for common sense legislation that over time may help. Perhaps it is time to listen to the youth. The directors (and your superintendent) are not in favor of a prison climate in schools.  Consequently, our directors will be continuing to hold schools accountable for safety and preparedness, but also will discuss their role in advocating for changes in law that deal with the “leaks” while also supporting efforts to continue evaluating and improving the “buckets” in Port Townsend.
Posted by john.polm  On Mar 24, 2018 at 12:50 PM 158 Comments