Make it harder for bad people to penetrate our schools

“We also hear and see in the media too many unfortunate

examples — whether it be a church, businesses,

government buildings or even schools — where people are

coming into those buildings and doing harm to others.” Former Marshall Public Schools District Superintendent

Scott Monson made that comment at a 2019

board meeting during a discussion over approving

funding security upgrades at two school sites.

The “unfortunate examples” Monson was referring to

three years ago are increasing across the nation.

On May 24, evil struck the small community of

Uvalde, Texas. A 18-year-old gunman walked into an elementary

school and killed 19 students and two teachers.

Just a week earlier, another 18-year-old gunman walked

into a Buffalo, New York supermarket and killed 10 Black

people. During the span of those two shootings, other

smaller mass shootings occurred in other public sites in

different parts of the nation.

The Buffalo and Texas shootings have reignited the

gun control debate. While polling shows majorities of

Americans think shootings would occur less often if guns

were harder to get, the subject is still a political hot potato

for lawmakers in Congress. A bipartisan group of senators

did hold a virtual meeting Tuesday to strike a compromise

over gun safety legislation, but expectations remain low.

We can’t wait for the politicians to act.

So what can we do to protect our children safe inside


Well, it starts in the room Monson stood during that

school board meeting back in 2019. Our school officials

need to continue reviewing safety upgrades to buildings

and train teachers to be always vigilant.

While the investigation into what went wrong in

Uvalde is just getting underway, it’s alleged that the door

the gunman used to get into the school was left propped

open. If true, that’s a definite security lapse.

Marshall, like other school districts in southern Minnesota,

have invested in a number of security upgrades

at facilities and also in training. Back in March, Marshall

High School Principal Brian Jones delivered a report on

security upgrades to the school board. Besides security

cameras, he reported that front doors are locked during

the school day and visitors can only enter by being buzzed

into the main office.

Both Marshall and New Ulm school districts have

presented active shooter training to teachers and other

personnel. These programs, such as ALICE (Alert, lockdown,

inform, counter, evacuate), are promoted as a “life

skill” that may come in handy not only in schools, but in

other public areas.

This is now the world we live in now. Schools from

preschool to universities must prepare for that worst-case


If it can happen in Uvalde, it could also happen in

Marshall, New Ulm or Fairmont.


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