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School security being taken too far

Chelsea Frisch, R1 Op-ed Editor

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People line up to enter the building. It takes awhile because everyone needs to walk through a metal detector. They await their turn to go through. Does this sound like an airport? While it may seem like one, this may unfortunately become the reality for a number of schools in America.

Towns across the nation have recently proposed or passed laws bringing metal detectors into their schools, ranging from nearby Bayonne to Fort Worth, TX, to Fayette County, KY. When debating the possibility of installing additional school security, it is important to consider how this will affect a school’s learning environment and a student’s comfort level.

Enhanced security, such as metal detectors, are constant reminders of violence and danger. Despite this, the movement to increase school security has risen in popularity. For example, about 90 percent of high schools in America have security cameras installed to monitor the school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

After recent events such as the Parkland shooting, there has been a lot of discussion about school security. While it is important to monitor the threat of intruders and ensure that students are safe, there needs to be a balance between comfort and safety. As stated in an editorial from the Los Angeles Times, metal detectors “would make schools feel more like detention centers and less like places of learning and mutual respect.”

According to The New York Times, schools purchased nearly $2.7 billion worth of security equipment last year. It’s not just metal detectors and cameras—schools are installing everything from palm scanners to heat detectors.

Just because there is available technology to install in schools does not mean that it has to be used. People need to focus on the real problem of controlling the use and sale of weapons, rather than using more technology to fight them.

School security does not solve everything. Weapons and violence need to be controlled outside of schools, as schools are not the only places where violent acts are occurring. For example, the 2016 Orlando shooting occurred in a nightclub and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting took place at a music festival—neither were at a school. There is clearly violence beyond the walls of schools. No matter how much schools are secured, there is a whole world outside of them—people should not live in fear both in and out of school.

Students are told to go to school every day, and it is not fair to anyone if their schools feel unsafe. On the other hand, excessive security ultimately obstructs gun reform by placing the blame on the schools, rather than on the weapons, thus avoiding the real problem. While less security cannot ensure fewer weapons, fewer weapons can definitely ensure the need for less security.

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