Do You Feel Safe?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by EDUK8_ME, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    Due to recent and past school shootings, do you feel safe in your school? Do you feel that your school is proactive in its efforts to protect its staff and students?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Acutally, I feel safe, but we're not at all proactive. We have no metal detectors, no guards on duty-- none of the things some of the local public schools have.

    But life's got to go on, too. I think it's one of the huge lessons that NY learned in the wake of 9/11. So you take the precautions you think are necessary and keep on living. Cowering in fear only lets the psychos win.
     
  4. moonbeamsinajar

    moonbeamsinajar Habitué

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    Went in to our district's newly remodeled High School on Wednesday to pick up my daughter for a Doctor's Apt. They had installed a new entry system, with an outer and an inner door you had to go through. I thought they were supposed to have a camera and a microphone there to see who you were and what you wanted before they let you in.

    However, the outer door was unlocked, and the inner door was propped open. So much for the security system.


    They did actually make me show my driver's license to get her out of school though.
     
  5. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    We actually had a faculty meeting to deal with crisis mgmt. yesterday. We have a cop on duty all the time. Another plus is that we are right across the street from the city hospital. On Wed., we are having a Code Red in which we have to crouch down with our class away from the door and windows. I admit that it scared me a little bit, but I'm from the Columbine era (I graduated HS a month before in 1999), so I take everything seriously. I remember having the bomb squad at my high school every day until I graduated. I'll do whatever they need me to do.

    Also, did you read about Wisconsin trying to get teachers to be armed? I think that's very interesting.
     
  6. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    It really is only one assemblyman, not the state as a whole. He is bringing this issue up, I don't think it will fly in the state assembly......but that is just my opinion.
     
  7. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I do feel safe, but then when I think about the things that can happen it makes me nervous. Our restroom is right next to the door to the exit/entrance. A little girl walked straight out the door, but the office thought she was just going to the restroom. And then who knows could just walk in. So scary.
     
  8. krissylou

    krissylou Rookie

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    Just yesterday we had a lock down, first one ever in our elementary history. Some crazy was walking around outside our school with loaded guns. Our local HS just installed metal detectors this week after a student brought a gun, not loaded, but had bullets in his locker.
     
  9. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I think I have a unique perspective as a person whose family has been victim to violent crime. My grandmother was murdered while having her hair done in a home-based beauty salon. What this taught me is that no one is REALLY safe anywhere. If a person bent on mayhem wants to get into a building, he will. That being said, my school DOES keep ALL doors locked, and we practice lock-downs with the police, but since my grandmother's murder, everywhere I go I look for hiding places and escape routes. If anything really did happen in my school, I'm not sure I would be able to keep it together to keep my kids safe. I think there would be A LOT of silent self-talk going on in my head.
     
  10. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Mostly. My school is in the suburbs, but it hasn't been the nice area for about 40 years. A gang was operating and recruiting out of the apartments across the street a few years back, and one my former students was sent to prison for participating in a gang attack (he was 18 at the time). Another of my students brought a gun to school, but luckily for me he was in another class when the armed police officers burst in and carried him away. A third student of mine (a sweet immigrant from Africa who wrote, "You are my favorite teacher ever in years" on his final exam) was shot twice while playing a game of basketball down the street (he's ok).

    We also have a lock-down code, which came across the loud-speaker two years ago. It turned out to be a hoax (a student called 9-11 to say there had been a shooting, but there hadn't), but obviously we didn't know that as we were hiding in the dark for an hour waiting for the police to clear us.

    I keep the door locked at all times (this is school procedure but some of the older teachers don't), but our school is not all that safe or secure because we have outdoor trailers that students must be able to get to. We do have a police officer, but he wasn't even in the building when we had our lock-down.

    Things have gotten better, but packs of kids used to roam the halls all the time. They've finally required teachers to write specific passes for each student instead of just giving kids the class pass, which is cutting down on bathroom visits and making it possible to identify students who aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing. The teachers are complaining about it, though (I never had a class pass, so it's no change in my procedure for me).

    What has struck me about the recent school violence is that the teachers left. Maybe the gunman threatened to shoot a child if they didn't, but if he was willing to shoot a child right off the bat, what did they think would happen to the children after they left? I really don't think I would leave. I wouldn't leave my own children in that scenario, and I love my students and I just don't think I would. I know it's easy to say that when you're not in that situation, but I think I would just calmly and politely say, "No sir, I cannot. Please sir, it's my job, I cannot leave. I'm sorry sir."

    My friend said I couldn't know what I would do, and another teacher said she wouldn't risk her life for her job, but I just don't agree with them. Last year we heard a girl screaming like her life depended on it, "TEACHER!!! TEACHER!!! HELP US!!! HELP US!!!" and my friend (whose door adjoins mine) didn't go to see what the matter was, but I did. I think that when you're the adult in a situation, you have to do what you can to protect the children who have been placed in your trust. Obviously I am not strong enough to win a struggle with an intruder, but that's not an excuse to be a coward.
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    You can't predict what you would do in that situation. It really is fight or flight response. Also for me, my primary concern is my own children at home having a mom. Having said that if I could help a situation, I would in a heartbeat, but I would judge those who were told to leave and left. Also if you had a gun to your head, you would leave to. Who says they didn't ask to stay?
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I would have checked the student yelling help because I would have been too naive not to. I deal with Elementary so it's not my realm of thinking to think of that kind of danger. Of course I'm sure it's not in most of our realms of thinking. I would have been joined by another. Well I would have had to grab another because it's a deaf school so they may not hear it. I've had some training (though not enough to be confident) in first aid, cpr, and how to grab someone out of control (I want more training on the last one and it takes more than one person for most of the moves). That last training was interesting because it shows what to do if someone bites you, charges you, grabs you, etc. That's good training for anyone but is reserved for the dorm people.
     
  13. elem_teacher3

    elem_teacher3 Companion

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    You also have to realize that the school was in an amish community. The teacher fled and was able to call 911. She was also only 20...just a child herself. If an evil person is bent on killing there is no changing their mind...

    It is easy for us...who are not being threaten...to say what we would do in that situation....my prayers are for all those who were tragically involved.
     
  14. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    I feel as safe at my school as I do at home. We don't live in a perfect world, so we're never completely safe. But my school has great safety precautions (such as the way our doors work for lockdowns) that increase safety without making us feel imprisoned.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I certainly never feel as if I am in any sort of danger at school. The only door which is not locked is the front door by the office. We have a chain across the hallway just past the office door with a sign reminding visitors to check in at the office. My classroom door is kept on lock-mode (more to keep teachers from using my room as a short-cut to the library than for security). We all have telephones in our room and by Christmas we will also all have walkie-talkies as well (I got mine this week). I feel that we have effective security and safety routines and procedures in place. As I tell my students, there are always "what-ifs", but I really don't think about them.
     
  16. 2Teach_is_2Care

    2Teach_is_2Care Rookie

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    With all the news on the recent school shootings, the teachers at my school are really concerned about how "safe" our children are. I teach at our only elementary school of about 550 students pk-5th, rural area. Most of the teachers do not feel that we are secure enough in protecting our students. Anyone could waltz right in our school, bypass the office, and turn down one of the two hallways undetected. We are really concerned because you just don't know WHO you CAN and CAN'T trust and with so many custody battles and things going on, we really don't know if our students are even aloud to go home with a certain parent. Don't get me wrong, we do have children listed in the office on parent custody issues, but most teachers don't know about this. If this can happen in an amish school, whose to say it can't happen at any of our schools?
     
  17. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I feel safe at school....we have saftey procautions and while I see why they are in place, I find them utterly annoying and a bit unrealistic...for example, we have to keep classroom doors locked while we are out of the room (lunch, prep, ect...) fine, but that means that if a kid forgets his/her lunch box gets called to go home etc..., the TA can't just send the kids back to the room, they have to find me, have me walk down unlock the door etc....also since all rooms must be locked no one can get into the bathroom during recess.....a fun task with little kids!
    I also cant stand when the outside doors are locked during recess and we cant get back in the building!
     
  18. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    I feel utterly safe at school. Our doors are open all day (although many classroom doors are locked when empty to prevent theft), there are only low fences and open gates and we actually welcome visitors; although they are asked to sign in at the office that is as much for their own safefy (in case of emergency we have to know who is on the premises for evacuation) as for anyone else's.

    I have seen the state of some schools in the US on TV and hoped it was just TV hype - sad to hear a lot of it is not. No wonder Australia is called "the lucky country".
     
  19. Ms. K

    Ms. K Rookie

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    I think that my school is getting better about becoming a "safe school" but we are a long way from achieving it. I teach in a very small district - 400 students total pre-k-12 in a very rural farm area. We have one police officer that works part-time and the next closest police department is 15 miles away. While we have had a specialist come into the school and set up a lock down procedure two years ago, we have never practiced with police presence. We have had bomb threats, students bringing weapons, non-custodial parent, etc. lock downs. The students do fairly well, but it's not any where near the degree of seriousness it should be for our circumstances. Our biggest problem right now is that we have a public library that is in the school. We have an outside door that is unlocked during the day for the library patrons, but everyone knows this so that is how the parents or outside people get into the building. Once they are in the library, we have a door that is directly connected to the upper elementary wing in the school. This door is only locked before/after school and at lunch. We have already had some instances where irate parents have come through the library during the school day to confront parents. It is still an issue and one that we need to discuss at our staff meeting this week.
     
  20. etcetera83

    etcetera83 Cohort

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    I guess all in all I feel pretty safe at school. All of the doors that lead to the outside of the building are kept locked except for the front door to the office. We have a keypad to enter a code to get back into two of the doors so we don't have to prop them open at recess. However, the front office is usually pretty slack about identifying vistitors especially when it's busy up there. So someone could sign in and roam the halls or not even sign in at all. I would feel safer about my kids being picked up from school early if the front office made people show their id's like moonbeans' did.

    We have a new system this year for the car riders. Each family has an assigned number and is provided with a hangtag sporting that number. You cannot pick your kid up from the carline without the hangtag. If you forget it you have to go to the office and sign them out. However, like I said the front office is pretty slack, so sometimes they just send the parent on down to the gym to get the kid. But over all I think it's a good system.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Several posters have mentioned police officers in their schools. How common is it in the U.S. to have permanent police or security guard presence in the school? Just curious...
     
  22. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    In the school districts around me, it is more common to have police or security personnel at the high schools.
     
  23. Music Doc

    Music Doc Habitué

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    I found it interesting, a few years back, when our school system implemented an 'Intruder drill,' that several principals held the drill with students in school during class....AND the principals made it very clear to everyone exactly what the policy was and what everyone should do during such a drill. What I found interesting it this: for the most part.....WHO is it who's been the intruding party in the large majority of school shooting scenarios? STUDENTS!! So that's great....let them know EXACTLY what the procedure will be when they attack! Sheesh.......some administrators amaze (and scare) me.
     
  24. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    We practice the drill at least once each year. The kids do know exactly what the procedures are so that they all know exactly what to do if the message comes over the intercom. What they don't know in our school are the exact code messages that put the school into lock down or let the staff know that danger has passed. Only teachers know those, and they are not written down anywhere.
     
  25. kamteach5

    kamteach5 Rookie

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    School Safety

    We live in a very small community of about 3000 and never in a million years would I have ever not felt safe and then one day an angry parent came to school. After yelling at the office staff he said he was going home to get a gun to shoot a teacher-who happened to be my best friend and my partner teacher. We were called on the intercom and told to lock down. This was before we had implemented a procedure and codes. Well that was fine and I locked down but I had a metal door and could not see out the door. Suddenly someone started pounding at the door. I called the office and they told me the parent was being subdued by the police department at that very minute in front of the school. The poor students thought I had lost it when I wouldn't open the door and wouldn't let any of them open it. The office sent someone out to see who was pounding and it was a poor parent. Two years later and maintenance still did not put in a peephole because the door was metal and he said he couldn't. My husband kept threatening to come to school and do it. This year I changed classrooms and I have a big bank of windows and a window in the door. I love it I can see outside.
     
  26. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't think our staff is trained for it, but the dorm staff has trainings every year for "Nonviolent Crisis Intervention." They show self defense moves and ways to take out a student who is being violent. This won't help with lockdown/security procedures but I heartily think ALL teachers should be REQUIRED to have this training.

    BTW, we are deaf so no one could call us on an intercom or even a phone and order us to lock down. You are lucky that was an option.
     
  27. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I know that anything can happen, but I do feel safe at our school. We practice our lockdown procedures, at least once a year. Our school is designed to be a "safe" school. All our outside doors are locked, except for the 1st set in the main entrance. The second set of doors are on a timer, and are locked when the tardy bell rings. All doors can be locked from the office if they are needed to. We also have cameras in all the halls, stairwells, cafeteria, gym, sidewalks, outside doorways, and playground. The cameras can be accessed from anywhere in the district by the superintendent and principals.
     
  28. AussieAP

    AussieAP Rookie

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    In my school, there are no locked doors, except when the rooms are empty, low fences [none on one boundary], no police presence - the nearest police station is 20 minutes away, visitors sign in when they come and out when they leave.
    It is saddening to read about so many people feeling insecure and unsafe as they work.
    Almost all of the students here would not know what a handgun looks like - except for in the movies or on TV, let alone own one - or even know someone who does - I certainly don't.
    I agree with MrsLC [above], I really appreciate why Australia is the "lucky country".
     
  29. rhassinger

    rhassinger Rookie

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    Oct 10, 2006

    There really isn't a logical reason to feel more or less safe than before. The press's attention to school violence have magnified the problem to make it appear to be a national crisis, while the actual statistics are unchanged. Like someone else said, the statistics heavily disfavor anything like Columbine happening to any given student or school.

    In a parallel topic, there was a study published in the last couple of years that showed that until the Lindbergh baby incident, child abductions were rampant but never reported by the media. Today single child abductions are extremely rare but become national news. It's no surprise that most people believe that child abductions are a modern phenomenon and we all have to be vigilant.

    Does the same apply to school violence? When I was in high school 20 years ago, quite a few things occurred that would be widely covered today. Kids getting stabbed with diving knives was pretty common, timed explosions (derived from fireworks) occurred several times a year, and there was even one kid who brought a real, functional uzi (a machine gun) to school, sans ammunition. Nobody bothered him about it. And I went to a small magnet school in a medium-sized city.

    I guess that it takes a spectacular, highly-covered incident like 9/11, Columbine or Lindbergh to shake people up to the point of (forgive me for using this word) overreaction.
     

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