On Friday, May 18, 2018, there was yet another school shooting. This time in a town just south of Houston, Texas. This was closely followed by many hollow expressions of “prayers and concerns” for the victims and their families. BUT yet this keeps happening, deadly violence in schools.
“Actions Express Priorities” Mahatma Gandi
The above quote is part of the signature line of every email that I send while I’m at school. It helps remind people that their actions are actions are far more important than their generally hollow words. There occasionally, politicians that do what they say they are going to do, but generally most don’t follow-through.
On Saturday, May 19th, Lt. (little) Dan Patrick decided to basically blame the victims by making the following statement:
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says there are too many entrances and exits to schools, and that is why shootings are able to happen. “Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe he would have been stopped.”
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) May 18, 2018
Yes, it is probably true that there are too many entrances to the building, but yet I have not seen any legislation requiring safer school designs.
It has been 19 years, yes 19 years since the Columbine tragedy that was the beginning of this new era of school violence. In that 19 years, there has been zero legislation regarding building design and school safety. In 19 years, some schools have taken on the responsibility of designing safer buildings without the requirement of the State of Texas. When the schools take on the task without legislative support, then they are also left to fund the cost of the upgrades or redesign. Most schools are not in the financial position to pay for the upgrades or redesign.
It is time for little dan to put some money where his mouth is by putting legislation in place that requires schools to upgrade or redesign to improve security and then provide funding to make it happen.
In my current building, it could take a million dollars or more to retrofit this building with the necessary safety requirement. There are multiple 10-15 double glass doors entrances. Each would have to be replaced with solid metal doors, with fire alarms and video cameras to monitor each door. It will require adding personnel to monitor the cameras and more personnel to conduct daily searches using metal detectors and x-ray machines. In the morning there must be enough personnel to get 3000 students into the building in 30-45 minutes.
One Southeastern Texas district, Spurger ISD is being proactive about making some minor changes to improve the security of each classroom in their district. These changes are not overly expensive but will help to secure classrooms in the event of a dangerous intruder in the building.
Along with all the structural upgrades, there must be a changed in philosophy regarding school counselors. Most counselors spend their days working on student schedules, making sure students have the required credit and on track to graduate. Most do not have time to “counsel” students” because their student load is excessive. Many counselors carry a load of 350-400 students which leave them little time for counseling students. More funding must be provided to increase the number of counselors so that their teacher-to-student ratio is reduced to a manageable level.
Lastly, little dan needs to stop saying that arming teachers is the best solution for the problem. No, it is not, it is just the one that keeps him from being responsible for taking any action on his part.
As Eldridge Cleaver once stated “You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.’
Right now little dan is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
David R. Taylor 30-year Teacher, Coach, and Principal