Cooperating on safety

March 29, 2013 

The words have been repeated so often since Dec. 14, 2012, in reference to violence against children, threats to schools, gun control, movements in Congress: “Ever since Newtown.”

In North Carolina and elsewhere, ever since Newtown, talk among law enforcement, school leaders and parents has centered on how to make schools safer. For Dec. 14, 2012, was the day 26 people, 20 of them first-graders, were slain in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., by a lone, crazed gunman.

Now credit Republicans and Democrats in the North Carolina state House for coming up with legislation to make schools safer. And wisely, the lawmakers stayed away from the issue of whether to arm school resource officers, as advocated by the misguided leadership of the National Rifle Association. That will be left to individual districts.

The $34 million bill will provide for a variety of safety measures, from those resource officers to counselors to alarms connected to local law enforcement, to helping schools plan ways to improve safety and prevent the threat of anything like Newtown. School officials and law enforcement will be involved together. Schools, for example, will provide sheriff’s offices and police departments with school floor plans so that officers will know a layout should they ever be called in an emergency.

Absolute, fool-proof safety? A guarantee that no school, no child will ever be threatened?

No, because in a free country that is impossible. But more is possible than just raising awareness. These ideas were crafted by people of different political persuasions but with a common concern that North Carolina’s school children be taught in a safe haven.

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