Tuesday, January 22, 2008

School Security A Bargain

We’re hoping that the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners keeps the metal detectors and X-ray machines issue in perspective.

Yes, the price tag is $4.5 million sounds like a lot of money.

It’s just worth remembering that the city school district spends more than that every two days.

The amount is also less than one-half of one percent of the entire budget.

That’s why, from where we sit, it’s a small price to pay for parents of Memphis City Schools students to be given peace of mind when their kids enter school each day.

While there are many questions remaining to be answered on a proposed police department within Memphis City Schools, the decision about metal detectors and X-ray machines seems clear.

Despite the hysterical coverage of every school incident by television news, these problems are actually rarities for the city district. But the daily checks provided by this new technology go a long way in making even these few incidents more unlikely.

As for news coverage, it’s interesting how much the preconceived opinions of reporters can factor into coverage of school crime. For example, in the years that Cordova High School was part of the county school district, it was ignored by the media. After it was transferred to the control of Memphis City Schools, overnight, to listen to media reporters, gangs sprang up like mushrooms and crime was commonplace.

And nothing had changed except the name of the district on the school letterhead.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree we need to do what we can to make students and teachers feel safe and help parents feel that students are safe. The district also has to look into how this will impact instructional time and what the ongoing cost will be beyond the start up cost. The "price tag" of this initiative goes beyond $4.5 million dollars.

Anonymous said...

some costs can be recovered by monthly 'recovered arms' sales in the neighborhoods, I'm guessing.

Kelvin Oliver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

SCM, i'm shocked that you would agree with this solution. this debate is a farce, do you really believe that a metal detector will stop weapons coming on school campuses? if a school has a gang problem the students will bring guns to school or they will be in locations around the school or kids will make weapons and stash spots on campus. do you think that there are no weapons in prisons? the problem is the kids that are involved in this behavior need to be routed to community, at-risk programs. that's the only way schools will be safe. what's the difference between a child being shot in school or 50 feet away?

the school system in the inner-city is preparing the students for prison. in a learning environment, which is what a school should be, under no circumstances should metal detectors be appropriate. the students that take away from this environment should be removed and placed in alternative schools. i wonder how many parents would call for a metal detector at germantown high? fact is, the suburban schools put problem kids in alternative schools, which is what the city school system should do. all metal detectors provide is supply a false sense of security and an erosion in the learning environment.

Kelvin Oliver said...

As a graduate of Memphis City Schools of 2007, I believe that the school Board should look at a police department versus X-ray machines and metal detectors. In high school, it was really not that bad to have our items, checked but it did make feel like they are doing something. At least they did that.

I honestly do not understand where the X-ray machines will come in. If they are going to add that in, you might as well turn the schools into an airport. As I ponder on seeing MCS with machines as mentioned, that makes everything look bad. Rather I think they should look at how other school systems are dealing with the issue of security and safe of students, teachers, and administrators. As a conclusion, Board members should think about everything and just research. I could go on and talking about this and other issues within the school system, but I will end here.

Smart City Consulting said...

Kelvin Oliver: We agree with you. Our reasoning against MPD providing this and other security services is the existing tendency to criminalize so much juvenile behavior these days. Most of us who grew up a generation ago would have been alumni of Juvenile Court today. We think that on balance, Memphis City Schools is best at calibrating actions to be taken against students rather than police.

Anonymous: We don't think that this is the answer to the problems, but for less than one half of one percent of the total school budget, we think it's worth a try. Then we'll actually have some measurements to compare.

We're not sure why the metal detectors would condition students for prison unless that's what homeland security is doing to the rest of us at the airport.

Anonymous said...

homeland security is not analogous to metal detectors in schools. the purpose of homeland security is to prevent terrorists from hijacking or imploding planes. the so-called need for metal detectors in schools is to prevent students using or sneaking in contraband i.e weapons. metal detectors will not prevent this, no studies, back this assumption. the most effective way to reduce rates of violence is measures against violent students. the school system does not need metal detectors to carry out that initiative.
the metal detectors will condition children to expect to have there privacy violated on a daily basis, i.e. prison. if you do not believe this have the county try to implement such a measure, parents would not stand for it, nor should they. the schools should take the money and invest in alternative programs for at-risk students. it would be a much better investment in making the schools better, not perceptively safer.

Smart City Consulting said...

If you think the county school system with its gulag thinking wouldn't welcome this, you're sadly mistaken. At the end of the day, the question for us is this: isn't it worth this much money to treat poor parents as valued enough to give them an increased sense of comfort for their children while they're at school? Again, it's less than .5 percent of the district's budget. We think it's worth the experiment.

Anonymous said...

scm, your points are well taken. i believe the county school system may welcome detectors but the parents wouldn't. also, i could be wrong about this but there was only one fatality in memphis city schools last year and it wasn't from a gunshot. the fatality was due to a gang initiation that involved being jumped and beaten, metal detectors would not have prevented this tragedy. i would venture to say that poor parents would welcome a cleansing of gang activity as opposed to a metal detector being installed on school campuses. there is only one proven way to reduce violence on school campuses, get rid of problem students. we may have to respectfully disagree on this issue.

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