Street Talk: Area residents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 20, 2000

ponder school safety issues


Features Editor

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Sept. 19, 2000 10 PM

Schools were once considered safe havens for students and the worst thing that could happen to a child there was a trip to the cloak room or a fall from a slippery slide. For the most part, schools are still safe places to be. However, in recent years, acts violence at schools all across the country are causing parents to ask, "How safe are our schools and what can we do to make sure that such acts of violence will not occur in our hometown?"

When asked what measures should be taken in the schools of Pike County to provide a safe setting for our children, this is what was said.

Deedie Carter said uniformed security officers should be visible on all high school campuses.

"Most of the major crimes happen on high school campuses," Carter said. "The students are more mobile and there are more opportunities for crimes to happen. We need to keep the students from going on and off campus as much as possible. With so much movement of students, it is easier for outsiders to come onto campus unnoticed."

Clint Argo agreed that security should be tightened at the schools with the addition of either a police officer on campus or a security guard.

"It would help if all the doors to the school were locked to outsiders during school hours," he said. "Once the students get inside they would be safe because no one could get in."

Argo said he graduated

from high school two years ago and school crime has greatly increased since then.

"We didn’t have all of this stuff going on," he said. "It all starts at home and children just aren’t being taught respect for anybody or anything."

"No law." That’s what Billy Owens said is missing on school campuses. "We don’t have police officers at the schools and it looks like we need them. We need metal detectors and weapons checks and guards. We’ve got to have security at the schools if we are going to protect our children the way they deserve to be protected."

Heavy security would be a giant step to protect students but Sasha Tuck said the students themselves can pose a threat.

"We need to have metal detectors at the doors to make sure students don’t bring any kind of weapon into the school," she said. "And, we shouldn’t let them carry book bags where they can conceal weapons. Locker checks should be done periodically. Heavy security would make it much more difficult for anyone to get into the school and cause trouble. And the biggest thing is to put prayer back in schools. That would make the most difference."

Putting prayer back certainly would be a step in the right direction but children must also be taught respect – respect for themselves, for others, for the environment and for authority, said Joyce Dix.

"We have got to get our priorities straight," she said. "We have gotten away from the values that held us together as families and made us considerate and thoughtful of others. We have got to teach our children to be respectful and not to resent authority or rebel against it. And, it all starts at home. Parents should teach their children the things that are right and good. Then we want have so many problems and so many children with problems."