How safe are our kids at school?

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blankThe odds are that nothing terrible will ever happen at a Winters school. If you don’t think your kids are safe at school there is nothing I, nor anyone else, can say that will convince you that they are safe. If you worry about your kids walking to school because someone might snatch them, you worry about the wrong things that will hurt your children. A Washington Post story said that there are estimated to be 115 stranger abductions per year in the United States. Pretty slim odds.

School mass shootings make front page news because they are terrible events and rare. If you want to keep your kids safe, don’t let them start smoking, drinking or driving without a seatbelt on. Teach them gun safety and what to do if they find a gun, or if another child wants to show them a gun. Same advice for smoking or doing drugs, tell them to run out of the room.

Around 1,300 children die annually from gun related injuries according to the journal Pediatrics, whoever they are. “Among the deaths, 53 percent were homicides, 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional, and 3 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined.” Even those numbers are small compared to our total population, but those deaths and injuries can easily be prevented. Lock up your firearms, teach gun safety to children and don’t let your kids know how to get to your firearms.

If we want to stop school shootings, we will have to turn our schools into airports. If you want to go into a school, or sporting event, you will have to go through a screening process, have your bags checked, body scanned and pass through a metal detector.

It may be a drastic idea, but to stop hijackers, airports implemented draconian means to try and stop anyone from boarding a plane with a weapon. It must be working, because there have been few hijackings since 9/11/2001. Airports do advise you to arrive two hours early to ensure that you can make your flight.

Can you imagine waiting an hour to get into school every day? How about attending a football game where everyone has to be screened? It can be done quickly if you have enough personnel and equipment, but how much would that cost? Going to a professional sporting event or a concert now requires you to pass through security and it doesn’t take nearly as long as going through the airport. The difference is that sporting events and concerts want you inside to spend money. Airport security is just doing their jobs and they don’t worry about your time.

Even with all the extra security it won’t stop someone from renting a truck and driving down the sidewalks or into a crowded event. Las Vegas proves that you don’t have to be inside to be a target.

There are simple things that schools can do to help when there is an active shooter on campus. Having metal doors that lock from the inside and having classrooms with exit doors out the back would be a good start.

Having an armed security guard on campus should help, but it didn’t help in Florida when the officer took cover and didn’t engage the shooter. If there are active duty, retired or reserve military serving as teachers, I wouldn’t mind them having a firearm on campus, but I don’t want to force teachers to learn how to defend themselves and their students if they don’t want to, or don’t have the skills.

So, where are you safe? I believe that you are safe almost everywhere you go, including school sites sporting events and concerts in the park. The odds are in your favor that nothing will ever happen you to. If you want to improve your odds of surviving into old age, do like Dr. Davis says, “pick old parents.” I’ll add, don’t use your phone when you are driving, wear your seat belt, drink in moderation and read the Winters Express.

Relax and have a good week.

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