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Concern over school safety is overblown
December 18, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Here's some food for thought in the current climate of concern over school safety: kids are a lot safer now than they were 20 years ago.
According to the most recent crime statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, both violent crime and child abuse reports are down sharply over the last 20 years. Even though violent crime rates did increase slightly from 2011 in the Midwest, kids here are still a lot safer than they were when their parents and I were growing up. And despite media coverage that makes it seem far more common than it really is, child abductions are also exceedingly rare. Both children and adults are in far greater danger of being killed or abused by a family member or a friend of the family and that is pretty unlikely too.
All of these things cross my mind when I hear about a panic over a strange visitor walking around in a school building or schools going into lockdown or parents being afraid to allow their elementary school children to walk between school buildings on their own in broad daylight, in a neighborhood filled with people. While wise safety precautions are always a good idea, some of these precautions are not wise. I think they have the potential to instead breed fear and may encourage children to feel they are helpless when we should be cultivating strength and resourcefulness instead. The current climate of fear isn't really what I want for my young nephews or for anyone else's children.
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