Friday, January 18, 2013

New procedures, partnerships will aid school safety, LFT says

Public schools should be made safer without turning them into armed camps, Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan told a legislative committee meeting in the aftermath of a horrific school shooting in Connecticut.

The union leader told members of the House Committee on Homeland Security that commonsense measures, including doors that lock and strong partnerships with law enforcement agencies, can be a big step toward ensuring the safety of students and the adults who work in schools.

Monaghan rejected the notion put forward by one lawmaker that teachers should be armed in order to face threats from outsiders like the man who burst into the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and six adults.

Citing his own experience as a Marine veteran, Monaghan said that the training available to most teachers would not be adequate to deal with a determined shooter.

“We have to be realistic about what the role of an educator is versus the role of a security enforcer,” Monaghan told the committee.

“I was an English teacher,” he said. “You don’t want me having a gun.”

Monaghan reported some of the preliminary results of an LFT survey in which teachers and school employees were asked to describe their school’s security measures.

The vast majority say that their school does have a crisis management plan as required by law, Monaghan said, but that some report deficiencies in the plans. Many reported that their classroom doors cannot be locked from the inside or without a key.

School officials have cited the cost of retrofitting schools with locking doors and safety features like “panic buttons,” an issue that Monaghan said needs to be addressed.

“We need to seek partnerships with appropriate state and federal agencies to fund the required modifications. If necessary, a request should be made to the congressional delegation asking for funds,” the survey report says.

To read the rest of this story, please click here.

No comments: