A Different Kind of School Choice

A Different Kind of School Choice

The following is a fictitious letter…

Dear Parents,

The tragic events in a Florida high school have inspired the Mastodon School District to evaluate its security procedure to ensure the safety of your children. In this process, we have discovered that there are many different views as to what makes a school safe. In order to please as many parents as possible, the board has decided to re-open Brontosaurus High School, which we closed two years ago due to a declining enrollment.

By doing so, we shall then have two high schools with different safety features. Parents can then choose the school that is most in line with their safe-school mindset. Please read the safety features carefully and call the board office to indicate the choice for your children.

Raptor High

All students will enter the building at only one location. All other doors will be locked but can be opened from inside by school personnel only.

No backpacks will be allowed in the school.

A security officer will be in the building during school hours. He will not carry a firearm but can access one, if necessary, from a safe in the principal’s office.

No teacher or staff member will carry a weapon or have access to a weapon on school grounds.

Each student will be examined by a psychologist. If a student is determined to have mental health issues, he or she will be forced to undergo more in-depth evaluations. Any student diagnosed with severe mental issues will be removed from school until experts can determine if he or she is a threat to others.

All classroom doors will be fitted with a locking system that will prevent unwanted access. In addition, new doors with a small, bullet-proof window will be installed throughout the building.

A ten-foot privacy fence will be erected around the entire school campus. Only one gate will be used for access or egress and will be locked when students are inside the fence. Only school personnel will have a key.

Videos or books that have war or violence as a major or minor theme will be prohibited.

Raptor High will continue to be a gun-free zone.

Brontosaurus High

All students will enter the building at only one location. All other doors will be locked but can be opened from inside by school personnel only.

All students must pass through a metal detector before proceeding to their lockers.

Two armed security officers will be in the building the entire school day. They will continuously patrol the halls to assure building security. A third armed security officer will be on the gated athletic field whenever there are students present.

In addition, a number of teachers and other staff members, who wish to do so, will be trained in the use of firearms. They will undergo several hours of additional training each month. These volunteers must demonstrate skill and emotional maturity, or they will not be in the security program. Each classroom will have a gun lockbox on the wall that can be accessed only by the volunteer’s thumbprint on a skin-sensitive pad. In classes where teachers have chosen not to volunteer, the box will be empty.

Any student who demonstrates serious anger and/or violence issues will be removed from the school until it can be guaranteed that he or she is not a threat to others.

Any student who commits a crime on campus will be arrested and charged for that crime.

Armed security officers will be present at all athletic and other special events on campus.

A large, permanent sign will be erected in front of the school that reads, “Armed personnel guard this building. Any threat to the safety of students or staff will be met with deadly force. Have a nice day.”

Dear Catholic Journal Readers,

I believe these fictional schools fairly (but not completely) represent the philosophical divide in this nation over school security. So, if the choice were yours, to which school would you send your children?

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Written by
Thomas Addis