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.