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October 11, 2007 - Heather Ziegler
Let me preface by saying that I know school safety issues have changed in the past four years. However, if someone wants to take a gun into a school in the Ohio Valley, it could happen. We do not have metal detectors at our doors. One resource officer would have little chance against students such as the two monsters who massacred their classmates and teachers at Columbine. There was a time when I could enter about three different doors at Wheeling Park High School without concern of them being locked. Not the front door, but those in the back propped open by someone who slipped outside to smoke or students who did not want to walk all the way from the back parking lot to the side or front doors. The shop class often had the doors propped open because of heat or fumes or both. All of this, I'm assured, has been changed with the addition of more security cameras at the doors. But those cameras are only worth a penny if they aren't being monitored all the time. I would not want the job of securing a high school the size of Park, John Marshall or Brooke High. So many kids, so many doors, windows and accesses to watch. The only real defense against violence in schools is a good offense. In other words, you have to know your kids. You have to care enough to notice something out of the ordinary or when a kid is struggling with demons. I take my hat off to anyone in the education field today. You have a mighty burden that goes beyond a heavy bookbag. And for all of us, just because that kid in Cleveland who shot up his school was considered a "goth" character, please don't assume all kids who dress in black and look different than everyone else is a nut. It's just not so. Again -- know your kids.
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