School safety is important, but common sense needs to be used

Published 8:18 am Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We are pleased to hear that Decatur County School Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield and local school administrators have been hard at work thinking about ways to make our schools safer.

After the tragic fatal shooting of 26 people, including 20 children, in Newton, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, school security and gun control have no doubt been on many people’s minds. However, we urge everyone to keep common sense in mind when it comes to school security and gun control.

Rayfield said that he would love to have an armed officer at every school building, but that would likely cost at least $300,000 in additional taxpayer revnue — one officer for each of the county’s six elementary schools. There are some who argue that this would be money well spent, others who say that the chances of a tragedy are too low to warrant the expense, and then others who say that you can’t prevent a tragedy no matter what measures are taken.

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We believe that Rayfield’s current approach, to have a current school-resource officer “drop in” on elementary schools throughout the day, is a sound one that utilizes existing resources well.

There is no doubt that existing security and emergency procedures can always be updated and improved. However, at the same time it’s important not to overreact. We believe that our local school administrators are doing their job to find a sound balance.