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Remembering Newtown

 

Edna Hartwell

January 14, 2013

 

 

 

 

       When the phone starting ringing about the unthinkable shooting in Newtown, many of the callers wanted to simply remind me of numerous conversations that we had shared concerning America’s most vulnerable. . . our children.  Far too long I have been telling anyone who would listen that “In spite of the millions of dollars spent in schools for security equipment, the human factor is still needed to further insure the safety and protection of our kids.”  

          We are all feeling the hurt from what has occurred in Newtown; and for as long as it’s relived in the media, or debated at different levels of government the faces of the children holding hands with their eyes closed and exiting the building will be forever etched in our minds. 

          This tragedy is no less real than the shooting at Columbine or any other public school.  What have we learned and were there global changes after each occurrence? Is security a funding issue? Is regulating gun control the answer?  Should boards of education increase physical security in school buildings?  Are Police Officers on each campus going to make a different?    The answer is a resounding “Yes” to each question.  For school systems with no security, these questions might appear difficult to answer, but working collaboratively with the Department of Homeland Security, the local Departments of Public Safety and the individual Boards of Education many schools are effectively and efficiently addressing all of these issues that impact school safety and security. 

          If you haven’t been on a school campus lately, please know that a visible police car on a campus is as powerful to the school as kryptonite to Superman.   Please keep in mind that the armed officer cannot monitor the entire school alone; and this further justifies why the human factor is required for real-time monitoring of students, security equipment and communication with the police officer.  The monitoring occurs in a Command and Control Center – similar to a 911 call center.

          America has been at this crossroad before and interestingly enough, we have found many of the answers to the hard questions.  The most difficult question is: What does it take for us to realize that no amount of money is too great when it comes to protecting the greatest most precious resource in America? 

“Securing America’s Future . . . One School at a Time”

 

          In order to implement change, we need full cooperation from all stakeholders. Parents must trust in the system.  They must understand that tracking the movement of students, while they are under the authority of the school is not designed to violate privacy.  

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