Predictable as it was, parents at Webster Hill demanded the schools “do something” to make sure that strangers don’t come in to the building and talk dirty to elementary school kids. Can’t blame them. It’s not hard to come up with scenarios a whole lot worse than what actually happed last week. That they didn’t occur is just luck, since it’s clear enough that a guy snuck in and talked inappopriately to a student, fleeing when a lockdown followed.
The response is, as it always is in these types of cases, merely locking the door after the house has been burgled. School officials vowed to address security and promises that Webster Hill would have “extra security” at the main entrance, a more vigilant staff and some additional police patrols.
I know the extra cost is nothing in the scheme of things, but it’s also silly. There’s just as much danger at every other school – maybe more – and more security at the main entrance isn’t going to prevent somebody from slipping in a side door that kids, teachers or others leave open (which happens all the time, as anyone who goes into the schools knows).
What’s more, we don’t really want to turn our schools into citadels. We want parents, grandparents, friends and others to come and go because that’s what makes our schools part of the community, the glue in many neighborhoods, the thing that winds up binding us together in many cases.
We can’t let the fear of a stranger outweigh the love of a friend. Make it too hard to get into the schools and nobody will. Part of what makes them work is the relatively open environment they operate in.
Let’s hope the police find the creep involved. That would calm everyone down.