|Knife attack slashes the veil of school safety
|If your spouse is in law enforcement, there is always a chill that goes down your spine, either when the phone rings at 3 a.m., or when the department’s number shows up on your caller ID.
The same, I’m certain, is true for the spouses or family members of firefighters.
It’s no stretch to think that they all dread that call informing them that something has happened to a loved one.
For many years, parents were shielded from that sort of dread.
Sure, there was always the concern that the school would call and tell you that Little Johnny or Little Susie was sick and needed to go home, but that was about it.
The rise of school violence, though, has changed that.
Now, there is a generation of parents and students who have grown up in an era where school violence — particularly shootings — is a real possibility.
Officers in the schools and increased security are norms that parents and students alike have grown, unfortunately, accustomed to.
That point was driven home again this week, as a student at a high school near Pittsburgh is alleged to have stabbed at least 20 people.
According to reports, the worst victims appeared to have life-threatening injuries.
And there were a bit more than a handful of people who were in serious condition.
Fortunately, as of this writing, there had been no fatalities.
Again, though, this knife attack serves as another puncture to the veil of safety and security that we often associate with schools.
We send our students there to get an education, learn valuable social skills and become better people.
We don’t send them there because we expect them to be in a fight for their lives.
Now, though, that’s the reality of the situation.
And how should schools and law enforcement respond to this always-present threat of violence in what used to be safety sanctuaries?
Well, most school districts have officers at each of its schools, including elementary schools.
Sure, you don’t expect elementary school kids to cause the kinds of problems that would require police involvement, but what about when there are custody issues that spill over into a school parking lot or classroom?
Unfortunately, officers are needed.
Schools also make efforts to secure their campuses with locked doors, buzzers, fences and the like.
But there is only so much a school system can do before they turn their school into a prison compound.
It’s apparently too early in this whole Pittsburgh school stabbing to know what may have set this particular student off.
There were reports that students were being threatened through social media the evening before stabbing took place.
Hopefully, that may shed some light on why this tragedy happened.
The reality, though, is that the dark cloud of school violence is with us.
There might not be anything that can remove the darkness.