One of the more chilling realizations to come from the recent shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania is how vulnerable schools are to attacks. “If you take the incidents and isolated them, no real common thread exists," says Peter Pochowski, executive director of the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officers. "We have freedoms in this country, and we have people with serious problems. And it’s just not feasible for every school to have metal detectors right now. "
At the same time, says Pochowski," a locked door or an adult asking, 'Can I help you?' can be just enough to slow a guy down." To that end, schools across the country have begun to re-examine their security and emergency preparedness policies. While some have installed security personnel at front doors and cameras throughout hallways, others have begun to organize drills that direct teachers and children to safe havens in the event of an emergency. President George W. Bush, meanwhile, has called for a summit to determine how the government can help schools become safer.
But the most important people in the fight to protect our schools may very well be parents. “There are so many potential issues, from terrorist attacks to chemical spills, that they need to be aware of,” Pochowski says. “Getting involved in plans for these is crucial.” Here are some ways to do your part: