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Topic: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State?

  1. #1
    Active Participant Douglas Storm's Avatar
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    Default MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State?

    Hello, it's my understanding that DeMuth and the Board announced last night that elementary and middle schools will take another step toward emulating the prison system. Apparently schools will be locked down and visitors will have to be buzzed in.

    Sue, is this where our money for music and arts education is "prioritized"?

    What is the rationale and perceived benefit?

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    Hmmm...I'm not sure I see the connection between locked doors on schools and prisons. Prisons are locked to keep prisoners in...if schools are locked, it will be for the purpose of keeping crazies out. I don't foresee any problems with this. This is about keeping kids safe, not about locking them up!! This is just silly.

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    I do appreciate Dr. DeMuth's desire to keep children safe, but I must admit I am baffled by this initiative. Like B-town Errant, I am hoping to hear the rationale and perceived benefit. Did any teachers, students, or parents request this change? My understanding is that the money would come from whatever fund funds the building maintenance, and we do have to think of all expenditures as being statements of priorities. At my daughter's school, for instance, I would love to see trees planted and gardens maintained. Shade, beauty, and outdoor work bring people together--to my mind, they are another kind of investment in safety.

    How, as a community, do we think safety is generated? How can a change, such as locked doors and more restricted access, affect the culture of a school? (I believe all elementary schools already have all doors except the front one locked during school hours.) Connections between home and school are a key predictor of a child's academic success, so I would love to see our district doing its best to foster cooperative and friendly relationships with parents--and I would love to know about any new initiatives to do so.

    I'm going to paste in below much of a letter in the NY Times today, from Heather Weiss, the founder and director of the Harvard Family Research Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education:

    "...better support for family engagement is essential for improving student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

    Not only does family involvement predict school success, but it also offers cost savings. One study found that schools would have to spend $1,000 more per pupil to reap the same gains in achievement that an involved parent brings.

    Another study found that teachers are more likely to stay in schools where teachers rely on parents to support students’ education. This is important in low-income schools, where high teacher turnover can affect learning.

    And our research suggests that disadvantaged children benefit more from family involvement than their middle-class peers.

    But this is not just about better child-rearing: it is about making education a shared responsibility between families and schools, and giving parents the tools they need to become partners in learning."

  4. #4
    Active Participant Douglas Storm's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannah.Bolte View Post
    Hmmm...I'm not sure I see the connection between locked doors on schools and prisons. Prisons are locked to keep prisoners in...if schools are locked, it will be for the purpose of keeping crazies out. I don't foresee any problems with this. This is about keeping kids safe, not about locking them up!! This is just silly.
    I really don't believe there is anything silly about this.

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    The recent comments on this issue deserve more than to be dismissed as being silly or disregarded. The safety of our children is the responsibility of the entire community. To assume that it is the sole responsibility of the school district is to eliminate the responsibility of the larger community. This is an example of the decision making that is not asking the community what it wants to do. The assumption is that we can do whatever we want since it involves the safety of the children. It might be really interesting to put this question before the public and evaluate the various suggestions that I know would be made. It would also send a message to the public that the decisions being made include input from the larger community. This is the primary issue the Board needs to come to grips with as they move forward in planning for the future of MCCSC.

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    I would like to see public discussion of this issue. I don't really understand how the proposed system would be safer than the system now in place. Currently, when I visit any of the schools we're involved with, I enter via the front door--all other doors being locked. I am greeted by a security guard at the high school and by watchful receptionists at the elementary and middle schools. They ask me to sign in and take a "volunteer" or "visitor" sticker. So, the safety of the system relies on the security guard or receptionist making a judgment call about my character, and since I don't look like I have a bad intent, they wave me through. It is my understanding that the new system would involve a video camera and a buzzer. The security guard or receptionist would look at the video image, make a judgment call about my character, and buzz me in, or not. How exactly would this be different, other than making me wait in the cold and feel less welcome at the school?

    I feel that the safety of our schools actually depends on more community members and parents being present, not fewer, because I assume most of us have good intent and our eyes and ears will help keep our children safe. I think Jenny's idea about using the money to make the school grounds healthier and more welcoming is a good one.

    I would love to hear someone who is involved with selecting this system explain their thinking on it.

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    Lives_Je has really made an important statement and should be considered to the fullest extent possible before any further actions are taken. She has really captured the essence of the community in her comments. This cannot be an adversary debate as it is too important. Failure to recognize the importance of engaging the larger community in decision making has been the hallmark of this Board for several years. To put a hold on this decision will not mean we will have unsafe schools.
    I work in an office with a buzz in system and it requires regular and frequent maintance which is not inexpensive. Will the public be provided the initital cost for installation and the estimated continued maintance?

    Will someone report to the community why this decision was made at this time?

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    First of all Doug, I think it's difficult to have an honest discussion when your accusations are hyperbole. It seems as if you make charges just to start an argument.

    I can only reply for myself...nothing has really changed except that front or main entrances will be more closely monitored. Instead of automatically walking in, a door will be unlocked for you.

    I have to say I am really disappointed by this conversation...did we not have a student shot just 30 minutes up the road? Are there not problems with safety and security in any of our public buildings nowadays?? Sure, taking more security precautions isn't ideal, but that is the nature of society now, and I think the Superintendent has been quite prudent in her desire to secure our students.

    After all, if someone got in a building and did harm, then who would be blamed? And can you imagine the lawsuits?

    I will not apologize for wanting to have a safe system that does nothing to discourage visitors from coming to our schools. I just don't think those who oppose this are familiar with some of the potential security threats we have faced…because if you were more familiar with those threats, I think you would have a different opinion.

    Also, not everything can be a community discussion...sometimes action needs to be taken rather than waiting for the conversation to occur.

    We have professional staff and a 7 member school board who are charged with considering what is best first for our students and schools as well as the community. I think we have done that admirably in this case.

    And sorry Doug, but the funding for this could not be used for music and art, as it is in a separate fund. But I do recall prioritizing funds to build a school with an arts based curriculum.

    Board of Trustees, District 2
    Precincts: Salt Creek; Polk; Clear Creek 1,2,3; Perry 7,8,9,10,20,27,30

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    Sue, it is my understanding that the student shot in Martinsville was shot at the front door as students were arriving in the morning, and was shot by a fellow student, although that student had been expelled a few days earlier. Is my information incorrect? I am not aware of any threats in recent days that have not come from other students. How would this system protect against those threats? Will students be buzzed in one at a time in the morning? Will we have metal detectors or otherwise make sure no student brings a gun to school? What about security on buses?

    How will this system improve our ability to judge the validity of threatening graffiti found on school property, or change the culture that is apparently resulting in regular fights in our middle schools?

    If there are threats that I am unaware of, as a parent, I believe that the school system needs to bring these to my attention immediately.

    I agree with you that we need to take student security seriously, although I'm not so much worried about lawsuits as I am about the fact that the two most precious people in my life spend most of their days in these buildings. Nothing you have said so far has persuaded me that this system will address what seem to be the most likely threats to our children, and unlike you I am concerned that locked front doors may discourage volunteers and parents from visiting.

    I also wonder how the security person will deal with several people coming to the door at once, or visitors coming to the school at the same time students are going in and out the front door for recess or PE, which they do at the elementary school my kids attended. Has this been considered? Are students going to be required to use a different door, or will outdoor recess and PE class be banned? Please tell me something to convince me that this has been adequately thought through.

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    Default Re: MCCSC To Become Surveillance/Prison State

    jennifer-

    I understand that you don't have a concern, but we also have to worry about many schools other than yours and many families other than yours.

    And yes, while Martinsville was not a stranger in the school, my point is that schools are becoming less safe...
    I refuse to wait for something to happen before we take adequate precautions.

    And for the life of me, I can't imagine why anyone would NOT volunteer or visit just becasue they had to be let in...I still visit my friends' homes even though I have to wait to be allowed in.

    I know it's a change in mind set, but societal conditions have created that and I would rather err on the side of caution.
    Board of Trustees, District 2
    Precincts: Salt Creek; Polk; Clear Creek 1,2,3; Perry 7,8,9,10,20,27,30

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