Home > Uncategorized > It’s Come to This: UN-locked Schools are Newsworthy

It’s Come to This: UN-locked Schools are Newsworthy

I retired from my final assignment as Superintendent of Schools four years ago after serving two communities in the Upper Connecticut River Valley in New Hampshire and Vermont… and unless things have changed dramatically since I left the four schools I oversaw may be the last ones in North America that do not have a buzzer system to allow the entry or video cameras throughout the school.

I thought about this after reading this news account from from the Hamilton (Ontario) Spectator reporting that Halton’s schools are still safe even though they are unlocked as a result of a work stoppage by school secretaries. I found it distressing that the union representing the secretaries saw the monitoring of doors one of the job requirements that gave their membership some leverage in bargaining. From the time I attended school until I retired, that is roughly 60 years, secretaries DID assist with the monitoring of visitors and the scheduling of parent appointments. But the best secretaries also set a positive tone for the school by their interactions with parents, teachers, administrators… AND students. The notion that the secretaries think of themselves first and foremost as gatekeepers for the school— implicitly the only thing separating the safe haven of school with the cold world of gun-toting shooters— is a sign of how much fear is governing the lives of children today.

Since retiring I have served as a consultant to small rural school districts in Vermont and New Hampshire, and upon reflection cannot think of any I’ve been to where there hasn’t been restricted entry. It seemed odd to me since the college community I served kept its school doors open, though, as mentioned in an earlier post, was upgrading the locking system on the egress doors in it’s elementary school to make sure that anyone seeking entry was funneled into a single door that was near the office where people were asked to sign in.

But when a headline reads “”Halton’s Unlocked Public Schools Still Safe, Director Says”, it seems to me we’ve passed a threshold that will be difficult to return from. Put simply, we are inculcating our children with fear of the other when we confine them in locked compounds.

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