Frontline Solutions For School Safety : Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Had None

By Roger J. Katz, Attorney at Law and Stephen L. D'Andrilli

School Security
Frontline Solutions For School Safety: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Had None; Why Was That?
Arbalest Quarrel
Arbalest Quarrel

New York, NY  -(  Workable Frontline Solutions For School Safety Are Ultimately A State And Local Issue And Responsibility.

What are we doing to secure school safety for our communities? Kids are being seriously injured or killed in our schools. Doing something is better than doing nothing and there is, of course no excuse for doing nothing, but we must do the right thing.

 Innocent lives rest in the balance.

All we hear about in the news, though, is accusation and denunciation, all laid at the feet of the usual convenient scapegoats through whom the public is encouraged to vent its frustration and outrage. We see displays of raw anger and antipathy, emotional outbursts, and sanctimonious posturing. And we are proffered feel-good single solution answers that, on careful examination, do nothing at all to protect the lives and well-being of our children, and scarcely mask their true import: to promote a social and political agenda.

Those of us who have young children or grandchildren should not have to send them to school where they are not safe. If reasonable safeguards are put into effect in our schools, children will be safe. Think about it. Substantial security already exists at airports, in hospitals, in shopping malls, in corporate and governmental office buildings, in courthouses and banks, and in police stations.

You get the idea. And yet, there are schools in America that have no security or, at best, minimal and inadequate security for our children.

There Was Virtually No Security At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School On The Day Of The Shooting. Why Is That?

There was virtually no security at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; and what minimal security did exist at the School that the public did hear about—namely the assignment of one Broward County Deputy Sheriff to the School—proved useless in preventing or, for that matter, in even attempting to prevent the tragedy that ensued. In an updated article, titled, As Gunman Rampaged Through Florida School, Armed Deputy ‘Never Went In’”, The New York Times reports: 

“The only armed sheriff’s deputy at a Florida high school where 17 people were killed took cover outside rather than charging into the building when the massacre began, the Broward County sheriff said on Thursday. The sheriff also acknowledged that his office received 23 calls related to the suspect going back a decade, including one last year that said he was collecting knives and guns, but may not have adequately followed up. The deputy, Scot Peterson, resigned on Thursday after being suspended without pay after Sheriff Scott Israel reviewed surveillance video.” Matters didn’t improve once other Broward Sheriff’s Deputies arrived, forthey, too, did nothing to confront an active shooter.

The New York Post reported, in their article, titled, Four sheriff’s deputies hid during Florida shooting,” 

“Not one but four sheriff’s deputies hid behind cars instead of storming Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla., during Wednesday’s school shooting, police claimed Friday — as newly released records revealed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had received at least 18 calls about the troubled teen over the past decade. Sources from Coral Springs, Fla., Police Department tell CNN that when its officers arrived on the scene Wednesday, they were shocked to find three Broward County Sheriff’s deputies behind their cars with weapons drawn.” 

Coward County Sheriff Scott Israel
Coward County Sheriff Scott Israel

Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, has, for his part, much to answer for as he bears full responsibility for the action, or inaction, of individuals under his command, as well as for his own actions before, during, and after the tragedy. The parents of all the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—not only the parents of those students who were injured, some seriously, or parents of students whose lives were lost—should ask for a full accounting of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s actions. Parents of these High School students should also ask Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie why adequate security measures were not in place to forestall just such a tragedy that had occurred. It could not have been merely a matter of Broward County Public Schools having insufficient funds to pay for premier security for its schools–as if the cost of a child's life should ever devolve into a cost-benefit analysis. After all, Parkland, Florida, where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is situated–nestled close to Boca Raton and Coral Springs, wealthy communities–is itself a wealthy City.

Many State And Local Officials, Across The Country, Have Implemented Security Measures For Their School Systems. Unfortunately, Others, Like Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Had Not And, To Date, Have Not.

The public must ask: why are so many State and local governmental officials providing no security in and for their schools or are providing their schools with minimal and inadequate security? What are these public officials waiting for? To do nothing only invites another tragedy to occur in schools that have failed to implement even rudimentary security measures.

All too many Americans, it seems, are waiting for the Federal Government to legislate a solution. They look for a quick fix. The Federal Government can recommend guidelines, to be sure, and can provide State grants and encourage other types of funding. But, school safety is, ultimately, a State and local matter. This is hard work, but it is doable. Several States and local communities across the Country have acted to institute multilayered security measures in their schools to protect the lives and well-being of their children. Those communities that have not taken action must do so now. They must be proactive, not reactive.

A Concensus For Concerted Action To Make All Schools In Our Country Safe From Life-Threatening Violence Is Possible.

We seek to get a consensus on measures that can be immediately implemented in all our schools to provide an initial layer of passive protection. At this juncture, we do not need to get bogged-down in detail.

Video surveillance, both internal and external; secured entrances and exits; use of metal detectors; photo identification and written passes with appointment confirmations; and monitored alarm systems that are connected to police departments are all examples of neutral, passive security measures implemented for both business and government and, which, too, have been implemented in schools across the Country. These passive security measures have been shown to work well in real world situations. Had even a few of these security measures been implemented in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, injury and loss of innocent life would doubtless have been prevented or certainly reduced.

Again, many communities across the Country have already employed many of these measures and other passive as well as active measures, in their schools. Those communities that haven’t done so should seriously consider doing so if they are truly serious about protecting the lives and well-being of their children.

Action Alert: Call Your State Or Local Government!

Find out what your State and local government officials have done to make all the schools in your community—preschool, elementary, middle or junior high school, and high school—safe.

This, ultimately, is your responsibility. If your government officials have taken no action or minimal action or are reluctant to discuss the issue with you at all, then you must join with other members of your community to make sure that your government officials are responsive to and do listen to your concerns and that they take immediate action to address the issue of school security if they haven’t already done so. These Government officials owe it to you to make sure that the life and well-being of your child is safe. There is no excuse for delay. Don’t wait for your child to become another statistic!

Copyright © 2018 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.

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  • 8 thoughts on “Frontline Solutions For School Safety : Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Had None

    1. This article, and ones similar to it, although well intentioned, are exactly why we will lose the battle to save lives. Once again we have been distracted from the main point and allowed ourselves to be drawn down a path other than the one proven to work if we simply follow Occam’s Razor (the simplest answer is usually the right answer).

      More locks, cameras, security passes etc – PLEASE STOP. No matter how many you put in place, unless you are willing to put up double barbed wire fences and strip search every child, every day, these measures are pointless. A determined, evil person with a gun or a bomb will either be able to get into the building or the schoolyard and commit mass murder. The solution is and always has been armed intervention. If teachers wish to be armed, arm them. If other school staff wish to be armed, arm them. They will not, as some idiots have whined, pursue the bad guy but they will be in the classroom, behind the door to stop a gunman cold if he comes through.

      Parents should be shown pictures of murdered children and told “there is one way and one way only that is proven to stop this, it’s your choice, it’s your child”.

      We put fire extinguishers in schools to put out fires, why don’t we have patrol rifles in every school to stop child murderers?

    2. The most important point to emphasize is that government officials spend liberally on their own on-site armed-responders at legislative venues, courts, museums, and diverse facilities (e.g., Social Security Administration branches). Why do they do so? Arguably, because they recognize that on-site armed-response is the only really adequate last-line-of-defense for the persons and property to be protected. Locks, CCTV, X-ray machines, check-in/-out procedures are helpful first- and second- lines of defense but they are all vulnerable to circumvention; especially by insiders.

      If on-site armed-responders are so important where the government decision makers want them for their own protection then why is this same last-line-of-defense NOT applicable everywhere else? I.e., to private citizens in their homes, cars, businesses and in-public?

      The question is particularly applicable to public schools. Government mandates – by law – that children be educated. Our society is organized in such a way that public schools are the only viable choice. So, if minors (in no position to arm themselves) must attend public schools then government has an obligation to make adequate provision for security. The governments’ decision makers so so, at public expense, for themselves. They have a duty to do so for children as well.

      Admittedly, there are more schools than there are other types of government facilities that are already provisioned with on-site armed-responders. Suppose the number of schools were about equal to the number of other government facilities. Would the voters and taxpayers prefer to move the armed-responders to the schools? Or, would they prefer to double the public expense by adding on-site armed-responders at the schools? These are reasonable questions to consider.

      Still another way of looking at the problem is to reconsider who the on-site armed-responders might be in both schools and other government facilities.

      Arguably, SOME other facilities – such as court houses – are so acutely sensitive that a few on-site armed-responders are required and that they be dedicated exclusively to security. E.g., in a court-room we might arm the judge, clerks and stenographer; nevertheless, we should ALSO have armed bailiffs concentrating on security. Conversely, it’s not clear why Social Security branch offices require on-site armed-responders to secure the employees and patrons at these venues. Why not have some of the administrators at SS offices bear arms (preferably concealed) and perform dual-duty?

      I’ve observed that such dual-duty employees are used at the museums on the National Mall in Washington DC. At each entrance there is an employee or two performing a cursory review of hand-bags, back-packs and the like. Very often, these employees are senior citizens performing a useful role commensurate with their declining physical abilities. Doubtlessly, their attention is concentrated on their active tasks; i.e., profiling visitors and searching their hand-bags. Nevertheless, they are armed, open-carry. In the exceedingly unlikely event of a serious attack, no doubt they are deemed capable of returning fire and containing the problem for a few minutes until police could be summoned from the capital or the DC police. If this dual-duty function works for bag-checkers + armed-responders in museums why should it not work in, e.g., SS offices, for administrators + armed-responders?

    3. This is exactly why the old saying is more correct now than ever — the only good cop is a dead cop. The country needs more good cops now, not later.

        1. @roger g, Andy has only one opinion on one subject. Subject: cops. Opinion: cops bad. If AB would write that cops are the enforcers of unconstitutional laws that deprive Americans of their Constitutional Civil Rights, then he might get some traction. But no, AB just expels cops bad.

      1. Ah me, another little slime bucket troll sticks his head above the keyboard in his whiny little playroom that his parents have given him in the basement. That’s the problem with parenting today, if they’d kicked his lazy ass out and made him get a job he wouldn’t have been locked up for whatever it was he did and he wouldn’t be still living at home now trying to play with the adults.

        1. @Vanns, Yeah, I wonder what he did. Do you think he posts from the Youth Authority computer on his good time. Or maybe he is out, and still blaming all cops for catching him.

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