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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.

 
 

Article Comments

(24)

Marvin51

Dec-28-13 10:25 AM

On the topic in general, it should be noted that mass school shootings occur in schools with security. Locked doors forcing you to go through the office hasn't stopped them, armed guards haven't stopped them either.

Marvin51

Dec-28-13 10:19 AM

How about Minot State spending most of a million for blue light phones for security even though they haven't been shown to be effective? So many responses to these very unlikely events seem to be we must try something.

MarkHighwater

Dec-22-13 9:25 PM

The kids are more likely to exploited or bullied by teachers and administration than any outsiders....spend this money for cops on more psychological screening for the school employees...the danger is from the entrenched staff who think they are immune from prosecution.

landslide2014

Dec-22-13 8:52 AM

Kids are safer.. because parents have concinced them they are under attack and must stay in the house all day.. Don't venture into the play ground that boogy man that we use to chase from under your bed or out of your closet..now resides in your school, the mall, the theater or in your front and back yard.'

You must stay in the house all your youth and play those man killing video games..Your just not safe outside the house.

ADHD is I suspect a direct result of kids never getting to spend their energy in the form of exercise..but rather try to stay "high" or "Hopped up" in the brain day and night from violence and action packed video games and TV movies along with what the theaters are throwing at them.

Dec-20-13 7:51 PM

The biggest threat to the lives of citizens of minot is another flood. Ironic that the new "event center" could not be used 4 flood victims because it would have 2 b blocked in with dirt berms to keep it dry.

Dec-20-13 7:41 PM

TV news today: Our community dev. foundation solicits citizens 4 ideas. This is a hood wink to get "projects" they want thru an idea from a citizen. We need help for the flooded, flood control and a grade school. "Community leaders" want an event center, children's museum and a safer MSU. This picture could not be more clear. This is a continuation of the tax and spending policy of minot. They say they don't have the money to proceed with serious flood control while they have endless ideas for other frills. That is why the vote is no and should stay no.

Dec-20-13 1:14 PM

(continued) South Prairie will receive $250,000 in grant funding to pay for portable classrooms. Williston State College received $1.75 million to construct a new building dedicated to workforce training programs. Williston State also received $250,000 to demolish a vacant residence hall.

Dec-20-13 1:13 PM

If this just happened:

Area schools and colleges impacted by rapid growth in western North Dakota will receive grants from the Board of University and School Lands, according to a press release issued by the office of Gov. Jack Dalrymple. Nearly $5.6 million in grants will go to 24 K-12 schools and $4 million to higher education institutions. Area schools receiving funding follow: McKenzie County Public School District No.1 will receive $1.376 million in grant funding to purchase land needed for the construction of another school. Nesson Public School District No. 2 in Ray will receive $750,000 in grant funding to provide teacher housing. Grenora Public School District will receive $400,000 in grant funding to replace the school's heating system. Tioga Public School District will receive $279,000 to expand and remodel its kitchen and cafeteria. Powers Lake Public School District will receive $400,000 in grant funding to renovate its high school for additional classrooms.

Dec-20-13 1:13 PM

How can this be true:

"When asked, in his opinion and with the understanding that he was not a lawyer, could these funds be accessed by public schools to fund building projects, Mr. Engleson responded that no, in his opinion under current state law, Article IX of the N.D. Constitution and federal law, he did not believe that would be possible"

MattRothchild

Dec-20-13 12:03 PM

"As tragic as they are, school shootings are very rare. Kids have a better chance of being hit by lightning. They are also far more often perpetrated by a student at the school than they are by a stranger, so I'm not sure if some security measures have a lot of impact. My cousins attended a school with metal detectors at the front entrance and armed security guards back in the 1980s. Maybe that's what they're moving towards, though that sounds more like a prison than a school to me. I think reasonable safety precautions are always a good idea, but it's impossible to make the world perfectly safe. If you try, I think you run the risk of doing other kinds of damage to kids."

This.

Dec-20-13 1:42 AM

Will Ramstad and Longfellow have a police officer??? If not, why not?

redneck

Dec-19-13 6:04 PM

explain

redneck

Dec-19-13 6:03 PM

andrea you are a bigger man then I.I find it annoying to explane common sense

AndreaJohnson

Dec-19-13 5:54 PM

And to answer your other analogy about seatbelts and car safety seats -- yes, any time I drive a car with passengers, everybody has to be belted in. However, if I really wanted to keep everyone perfectly safe, I wouldn't ride in a car or let anyone else ride in a car either. You and I and our loved ones are far more likely to die in a traffic accident or be seriously injured than we are to encounter violence at a school or in the workplace. We still ride in cars.

AndreaJohnson

Dec-19-13 5:48 PM

As tragic as they are, school shootings are very rare. Kids have a better chance of being hit by lightning. They are also far more often perpetrated by a student at the school than they are by a stranger, so I'm not sure if some security measures have a lot of impact. My cousins attended a school with metal detectors at the front entrance and armed security guards back in the 1980s. Maybe that's what they're moving towards, though that sounds more like a prison than a school to me. I think reasonable safety precautions are always a good idea, but it's impossible to make the world perfectly safe. If you try, I think you run the risk of doing other kinds of damage to kids.

redneck

Dec-19-13 4:34 PM

we can make more kids. just ask the yes voters, then have sombody else pay the bill. do we have a lot of mass school violence here in minot?

whynotinMinot

Dec-19-13 3:31 PM

Andrea, make sure you share those general crime statistics with an actual parent, preferable one who's child was killed or injured in school violence. Then make crazy statements.

Mass school violence is up. Overall crime against children is down.

Do you let your nephews ride in your car without safety belts or car seats? Of course not. Items that cannot be replaced should be protected. That's not over blown or hype, that's being a parent.

Dec-18-13 10:22 PM

Will Ramstad and Longfellow have a police officer??? If not, why not?

Vote NO, again and again, Period.

MattRothchild

Dec-18-13 5:03 PM

Well, fear sells political agendae. Just look to see what it accomplishes. Zero tolerance nonsense, prohibitions and bans of every variety, and a whole host of other shameful vice...all to enhance the power of government.

Just say no.

AndreaJohnson

Dec-18-13 4:30 PM

The blog was inspired by a posting I saw at the blog Free Range Kids. School safety, school lockdowns, etc. are talked about all over the U.S. and Canada.

Dec-18-13 4:26 PM

So, my kids have been unsafe all these years? No-one ever told me...my kids have been to lewis and clarke, longfellow and Ramstad...they only used unsafe talk to get money...

redneck

Dec-18-13 4:20 PM

andrea you are a dang GENIUS best topic ever, now watch them try to shoot this down

Dec-18-13 1:26 PM

Minot High and Central Campus will both have a police officer in the schools after the Christmas break. What a joke and waste of taxpayer dollars.

Any kid in any school is way more likely to be killed in a vehicle crash than a school shooting.

However, media is driving this fear of everything and it will continue indefinitely, because it sells.

Dec-18-13 1:16 PM

Just another step in the "wussification" of kids these days. Over protective, coddling and just plain 'ole treating them like babies. This is a terrible way to raise kids, who will be in for a shock when they get out in the real world.

 
 

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