First there was the chaos of the COVID19 Pandemic that sent school officials scrambling to create plans to salvage an academic year with online learning and distance education methods. In March of 2020 most schools were forced to close their doors and rally the troops. Teachers provided weekly lesson plans as they waited for an “all clear” signal that sadly never came. Notices were often provided by the Governor and Health Department Officials in daily briefings that only served to further exacerbate the mounting frustration and depression.
Next came the collateral damage done to the children who couldn’t understand or comprehend this “new normal” that they were thrust into. Fear, anxiety, and even depression began being reported in previously well-suited children. Isolation at home and distancing from their friends began to take a toll on the mental health of the young. This will be yet another issue for schools to contend with upon re-opening in the Fall, or later.
Still, with no definitive end to the pandemic-related disruption of school, an uprising of protests ignites which reopens the wounds of racial injustice and police brutality. Cities and towns across America bear witness to civil disturbances, looting, violence, and destruction of businesses as the children watch from their imposed isolation from school and friends. You can’t change a channel to escape its media presence as it has become the fire you can’t look away from. The rain just continues to pour and it isn’t over yet.
Still Reeling From The Abbreviated School Year,
COVID19, the increased need for mental health services, and fueled racial tensions, school administrators must now address the call to defund police departments and remove School Resource Officers from their buildings, a move which will significantly affect the safety and well-being of each and every student and staff member.
School Resource Officers are sworn law enforcement officers that serve within the schools to generate an open line of communication with students and establish a personalization to the uniform. This serves to demonstrate that each and every police officer is unique and should not be lumped into a politically driven stereotype as heavy-handed and excessive with their use of force. They serve as a first line of defense for critical incidents such as Active Shooters which have accounted for 2,430 casualties from 2000-2018 in the United States. The SRO maintains a physical presence on site and provides an almost instant response to a critical incident. Removing these assets from schools increases the amount of response time from police and jeopardizes the safety of every student and staff member. So, who’s watching over the children?
There has never been a more imminent need to implement proactive safety measures. Increased social tension, increased need for mental health services, and decreased police presence is a recipe for disaster. Decreased response times from police mean that schools will need to protect their students and staff by safeguarding classrooms and preventing unwanted entry. This will effectively delay room entry and allow the necessary time for police response. Bolo Stick door barricades have quickly become the most sought-after device on the market because of their one-step operation and affordability. They are easily installed, require no special knowledge to operate, and are made in the USA. Learn more at www.bolostick.com and enter code BOLO20 to receive a limited time discount.
There are so many threats to school safety each and every day that proactive measures are an essential part each academic calendar. While school administrators struggle to keep up with every threat that emerges there is always another complication waiting in the wings to emerge. It is important to maintain vigilance towards safety and to continue to meet the needs of the students on a daily basis. Sure, it’s going to rain, but eventually the sun will shine.
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In closing, please remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together.
Be aware, proactive, and safe.
Bill Barna, President, Bolo Stick LLC