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Archive for February, 2018

What To Do Next

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The country is calling for action against gun violence in schools, and rightly so.

While there is no perfect solution, there are clearly things that can be done that too widely, have not been. Yes, they are expensive and many have argued prohibitively so; they may be intrusive and restrictive and again, in some places, unreasonably so. We know this. We know the arguments on both sides, on all sides. So while we all do not agree on all the specifics, it is safe to say we all agree something more, different, new, effective must be done. It is also understood that security measures for secondary schools will not necessarily work for primary schools.

My decision to write this was ultimately driven by the expressions of two of my relatives who are school teachers. While we – or any two of us anywhere – may have differing political or philosophical views I am confident we all agree on the most important things: Keeping our children, our schools, safe.

At the risk of embarrassing myself, leaving out something obvious or promoting something objectionable, or offending someone in any possible way and very possibly sounding foolish, ill-informed or uneducated, here’s my list. Unquestioningly it will be found (or accused) to be disagreeable, incomplete, naive, short-sighted, too far-reaching, or possibly just unrealistic or ineffective, missing the mark. Whatever solutions are implemented anywhere, I do firmly believe our constitutional rights, freedoms and constraints – vital to all US citizens – can still be protected.

Following the list, I have provided links to each of my previous writings related to this subject. This is my attempt to share my comprehensive, in fact all-encompassing perspective. As far as my perspective on this subject, I want to emphasize that my position, which is a complicated one, cannot be fully understood nor placed in the completely proper context without the benefit (or burden) of reading all the relevant articles I have written. In short, if you don’t read all of it, you will miss something and will not be fully informed as to my position. Criticize me or thank me, or perhaps you’ll just want to go to sleep at the thought of reading my stuff; I promise I have left nothing on the table. For the record, this collection, as faulty or incomplete as it may be, is my full “say”.

Ultimately, it is my hope that many other people in positions to take action, enact changes and people much smarter than me, are doing the same thing and more of it.

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1. Absolute enforcement of relevant laws already in place.

2. Improve background investigations and their processes, including intelligence sharing across federal, state and local agencies.

3. Enact or improve legislation that allows for crisis and pre-crisis intervention and improves information sharing between law enforcement agencies and relevant healthcare providers, all while still protecting individual rights and privacy.

4. Correct law enforcement agency mistakes and deficiencies in procedures and responses, including those proactive and preemptive. In relation to the shooting in Broward County, Florida, the FBI and local agencies had multiple and gross lapses, failures in multiple areas and multiple times. I believe disciplinary action against authorities on all levels is probably warranted in the Florida case. Ensure that responding security officers immediately and aggressively confront and neutralize threats.

5. Improve reporting programs to encourage appropriate reporting. Many school districts have extensive and multi-layered programs, including one aspect called Text-a-Tip, implemented in Douglas County, Colorado.

6. Electro-mechanically operated doors.

7. Video-monitored entry points and approaches to entry points. Monitoring to be active and constant.

8. Electronic access and identification cards required for secondary students and school staff and faculty; “proximity” badges or similar technology to actuate building entry; single person entry procedures (“tailgating” prohibited and actively controlled for entry). Cards are activated and deactivated electronically and remotely. All appropriate authorities are notified when an access or “prox” card is deactivated or revoked.

9. Armed security present at all active entry points and far ends of building approaches (closest to parking areas). Video surveillance of parking areas.

10. Random and specifically-defined mandatory searches conducted.

11. Secure portal entry areas – double electro-mechanically controlled door sets with metal detectors between. Portals are instantly locked inside and out upon detection (sensor activation) to contain and prevent further movement.

12. For entry outside of start- and end-of-day access (normally scheduled time window) active video assessment and audio communication capability installed at all access points and required before access is granted. Example: remote search/observation of backpack or satchel.

13. Separate portal for special entry requirements.

14. More prominent and permanent law enforcement presence, such as routine patrols, school building or on-property substations to be established.

15. Full-time armed school resource/security officer staffing. Utilize highly-qualified retired and former civilian and military law enforcement personnel and other highly trained and qualified individuals.

16. Modified procedures be implemented for security at athletic and other after-school-hours activities.

Here’s what it could look like, at least in part:

How an Indiana school protects against mass shootings as the 'safest school in America'

The Jeremy Wright Athletic Complex at Southwestern High School in Shelbyville, Ind. The school has been referred to as “the safest school in America” since a 2015 “Today Show” report on the school’s security program. (Photo: The Indianapolis Star)

 

How an Indiana school protects against mass shootings as the ‘safest school in America’

USA Today Network, Nate Chute and Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star

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l_wx3bBJSchool Shooting in Connecticut: An Open Letter to the Indiana Schools Superintendent
December 12, 2014

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turquoise-lake-sep-09-021

The Community of Family: It Begins at Home

December 16, 2012

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The Pain and the Truth of Friday
December 23, 2012Sandy Hook School

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Where Have the Children Gone?
December 23, 2012

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Faulty Philosophy, Ineffective Government: An Analysis of President Obama’s 23 Executive Orders for Gun Control
February 13, 2013

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