Petition to roll back Plano ISD's new security policy and seek a functional alternative
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In an ill-conceived ploy to placate justifiably concerned parents amid a succession of school shootings across the country, PISD has introduced a new scheme, mandating that all students wear identification cards or face stringent consequences. In addition to the employment of a new security detail armed solely with radios, the senior high schools will now lock their doors outside of passing periods. While it is understandable that the district should explore options to improve campus security, these measures are akin to enforcing a hard hat requirement to prevent drownings.
This new guidance marks a policy change which many parents will cheer, to which most instructors will have to acquiesce, but of which students and all reasonable people must be wary. Though constituting a noble façade of protective action, the plan does not withstand even the most rudimentary of logical scrutiny. It imposes an undue burden upon students and will undoubtedly divert classroom attention, but most importantly, it offers no conceivable benefits.
First, most students will inevitably forget to bring their sacred cards at some point. This will force them out of class to procure an equally useless temporary ID. Furthermore, these cards will now be necessary for the trivialities of daily life, from buying lunch to accessing the restrooms.
Undoubtedly, though, the most overt fault in this policy is that it cannot possibly achieve its desired effect and seems rooted in an asinine ignorance of the mechanics of a school shooting. Wearing ID cards won’t protect pupils unless they magically repel bullets, locked doors will offer no security if they are passable at the most logical time to attack or are vulnerable to rifle fire, and employing redshirted soccer moms with walkie-talkies as our sole defense wastes school resources and leaves everyone an open target.
The most important consideration is that any potential attacker would most likely be a current student. In this case, they will have unrestricted access to the buildings and face no resistance.
Similarly, any attacker could almost certainly overcome the locked doors with an especially powerful firearm in hand, or by striking at the most logical point in time - the passing period. Seven times per day, the doors will remain unlocked and the hallways crowded with students. The new policy does not address the most likely, and, potentially, most devastating possibility of an attack at such a time.
Perhaps the most bizarre element of the new policy is the choice of unarmed guards. A stern face and a radio are no match for the high powered rifles available to the general public. So long as America retains its love of guns and remains as plagued by the related violence as it is, any realistic attempt to provide security must allow some parity between defender and attacker.
Finally, the policy conveniently dodges the root motive of these tragedies and continues the administration’s lack of meaningful mental health safeguards. This shortfall has already allowed far too many suicide victims to slip through the cracks and will cause further devastation if not ameliorated.
If administration seeks to improve security, only extreme measures, like placing more armed guards on campus or establishing a perimeter with all traffic channeled through metal detectors, would make any difference at all. We accept such action is unlikely.
Therefore, we primarily urge that the district improve its mental health oversight. Such prevention strategies would tackle the root cause of the violence without humiliating students
Reality must set in if lives are to be saved. Action on such horrifying afflictions should move beyond platitudes. The threat is too complex and imposing to be resolved with cute necklaces and locked doors.
But for now, the ID policy must be reversed, and the district must make no further reforms unless they actually respond to the problem.
The need for such policy considerations is tragic and should infuriate everyone concerned. That the district would, in turn, transform schools into prisons should be similarly infuriating.
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