We didn't need metal detectors in schools until the last decade or so.
We still don't. The metal detectors are worse than worthless. It's absurdly simple to bypass them. For example, fire regulations require that there be many unlocked doors on a school, but there are generally only a few metal detectors. Therefore, if a school wishes to force everyone through the equipped doors, they must either post sentries by all other doors (waste of resources), lock them (against fire regulations), or put fire alarms on them (expensive, and will drastically increase the number of unplanned fire evacuations). All of these options decrease the safety and/or educational value of the school. Therefore, many schools do none of them, eliminating the usefulness of the detectors in the first place.
From the 1998 report on http://www.svrc.net/Statistics/Statistics.asp:
"The data in this report show a decline in school crime and a reduction in the percentage of students carrying weapons to school. At the same time, the data indicate a substantial amount of crime, including violent crime, against both students and teachers. It is also very important to note that students are more fearful at school today than in the past. These conditions highlight the importance of accurately measuring incidents of school crime so that we can improve our school environments and make them safer places."
This seems to indicate an increase in both school safety and student fear. Perhaps it is the "safety measures" such as metal detectors, random locker searches, and the draconian and irrational zero tolerance policies that are driving the fear, rather than the actual safety of the school.
Columbine and its copycats, to my knowledge, were unprecedented.
Columbine, perhaps - though the report I cited was in response to a different sensationalized school shooting at West Paducah High School. The copycats obviously were not unprecedented. They have pretty much stopped now that the media coverage has died down.
Above and beyond that, is there a need for parents to be present in their childrens' lives? Congress gives a lot of lip service to v-chips, and guidance stickers, and calls a bunch of studio execs to special panels every few years and gives them a lecture, but aren't parents the people ultimately responsible for raising their kids?
How can we as a community be so against government and corporate control and yet be supportive of those same bodies raising our children? We don't trust these people to tell us the truth, why are we ready to hand our children to them?
No argument here.
Don't we see and hear things happening today that simply did not happen years ago?
Weapons are better now, so its easier for a fluke event to be more dramatic. I don't see a trend of increasing numbers of fluke events, and even the numbers killed in said events were not enough to overcome the decrease in the number of such events.
What do you see and hear in the media? More importantly, what do you see and hear around you?
In the media, I see nonstop coverage of anything that happens, increasing the likelyhood of copycats. Around me, I see an increase in draconian and dehumanizing measures to "save the children." Children must file slowly into school, past uniformed security guards. They must have clear plastic backpacks and/or purses. All school implements must be non-metallic, if the child does not want to be checked out with the hand scanner every morning. Zero tolerance policies kick a child out of school if they draw a gun on a piece of paper, if they bring nail clippers to school, or even if they bring some Advil to school when they have a headache. It's getting to the point where I doubt even the good intentions of the policy makers anymore.
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