Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 15, 2013

ASK THE SHERIFF: Rethinking how we protect our greatest treasures

After the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, a lot of questions were focused toward school administrators and law enforcement officials alike, including your sheriff, as to what should be done to protect the children in our schools.

All good questions.

All potential solutions should be on the table to discuss and strategize effectively and efficiently to protect what I deem is our greatest treasures — our children.

Contrary to what some would want you to think, school shootings are rare. School violence is not. Any school plan and infrastructure improvement should include not only a possible school shooting, but someone causing a disruption, someone with a knife, hostage situations, a trespasser, custody disputes, and troubled children that could become violent, all without becoming a police state.

A paradigm shift is necessary in our school administrators and our community as we prepare for violence and what we typically view as acceptable security in schools.

According to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author and speaker about violence in America, we spend millions of dollars on fire safety equipment when we build or upgrade schools — a prudent thing to do.

But do you know how many kids have been killed by school fire, in North America, in the last 50 years? Zero.

In 1999, the year of the Columbine school shooting, school violence claimed what at the time was an all time record number of kid’s lives. In that year there were 35 dead and a quarter of a million serious injuries due to violence in the school.

In 2004, we had a record 48 dead in the schools by violence.

Lt. Col. Grossman makes a valid point, in that we have been resistant and in denial to spend or do what is necessary to protect our children. Our communities are now awakening from this denial. But will that awakening be enough?

Most recently I have met with school superintendents who are located outside of municipal limits to discuss strategy — a sheriff’s effort to partner with the community to solve a problem without dictating or overreaching on local school choices on which path to take.

The superintendents were pleased that law enforcement could provide a unique perspective that they would not necessarily think about.

School officials are understandably pressured by parents to “do something” to protect the children from a Sandy Hook-like incident. However, leaders should avoid spending money prematurely on security before researching the various options.

In and of themselves, cameras, locked doors, ID system for students and one school resource officer in the district are not the panacea to avoid school violence. For example, the SRO may be in a school other than where the violence occurs, sick, in training, or ominously they may be the first target of the gunman.

Text Only
Local News
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands