School Security: Safe but Subtle Essay

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School Security: Safe but Subtle

The most infamous and deadly act of violence to occur in a U.S. school were the events of April 20, 1999. In Littleton Colorado two teens went on a shooting and bombing spree that left 15 dead and 24 wounded before they shot and killed themselves. During the rampage, the two fired about 900 rounds of ammunition from two sawed off shotguns, a 9-mm semiautomatic carbine, and a semiautomatic handgun. Police also later found more than 30 bombs placed throughout the school (Brock, 2001).

In light of recent acts of violence in the nation’s schools, school safety and security have become a hot topic. However, the issue of school safety goes beyond student violence. It includes property damage, theft,
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Students who were interviewed after the Columbine shootings were more likely to report fear of harm or attack at school (6.3%) than those interviewed before the incident (4.8%) (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). However, most schools are safe places and in reality most kids are safer in school than they are outside of them. As Watson and Watson said in the preface of their book The School As a Safe Haven, “Most schools are safe-we know that-and we do not wish by writing this book to scare anyone and put false impressions in their heads (p.xiii).”

Overall, the crime that does exist continues to drop to even smaller numbers. Between 1995 and 2001, the percentage of students who reported being victims of crime at school decreased from 10% to 6%. This included a decrease in theft (from 7% to 4%) and a decrease in violent victimization (from 3% to 2%) over the same time period (U.S. Department of Education, 2003). The 2000 Annual Report on School Safety released by the Department of Education and Justice found that “Violent deaths at school are extremely rare. Thirty-four violent deaths were reported in 1998-99, compared to the high of 49 deaths reported in 1995-96 (U.S. Department of Education and Justice, 2001, p. 7). These numbers are significant in pointing out that schools are a safe place for almost all kids and that security, while a concern, should not be the main priority of school administrators.

Over the past few years, especially since the
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