The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 18, 2012

Your View: School safety

By David Guilford
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — After the latest tragedy with the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., I believe it is time for us to take a serious look at what we as taxpayers and parents can do to address school safety issues.

We then need to come up with practical ideas to improve the safety of our children in all of our public schools.

As an employee for 30 years in Joplin Public Schools, I can tell you student safety always came first and still should.

However, in light of this recent massacre of innocent children, I feel it is time for our state government, our public schools and the Joplin taxpayers to start a dialogue and get realistic input on ways to keep our children safe. This must be coordinated effort with everyone involved.

We need to look at safety issues, not only when our children are a school, but also look at all issues and concerns as they are traveling to and from school and school activities.

All school districts do not have the same “basic” safety guidelines, but I think they should. I feel the following basics should be addressed:

1. Should entrance doors be open for the public or locked with an outside intercom so everyone can be positively identified before they enter?

2. Should metal detectors be installed at every entrance before allowing visitors through a second set of locked doors?

3. Should classroom doors be locked  or unlocked when school is in session?

4. Should we require random drug testing for all school district employees or should drug testing be only based on “reasonable suspicion”?

I believe we need to start now to ensure we are doing all we can for the safety of our children.

David Guilford