June 6, 2022

Heidi Stevens: Parents spent the last 2 years yelling about masks harming kids’ psyches. What about the constant fear of being shot?

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Heidi Stevens, writing in the Chicago Tribune, argues about the business of fear in schools.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, by ordering “in-person, unannounced, random intruder detection audits” at schools.

The idea is to pinpoint access points and see how quickly an intruder could enter a school building without being stopped.

“The State must work beyond writing words on paper and ensuring that the laws are being followed,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Texas School Safety Center director Kathy Martinez-Prather. “It must also ensure that a culture of constant vigilance is engrained in every campus and in every school district employee across the state.”

A constant state of vigilance is not the culture we should be creating for our schools. A culture that requires a constant state of vigilance is a failure. It’s a failure of imagination, a failure of priorities and a failure to value children more than we value bloodlust.

Surely we can do better.

Abbott’s random intruder idea was met with swift criticism by education officials and policymakers.

“So you want grown men to show up to schools unannounced and try as hard as they can to find a way in?” Texas Rep. Diego Bernal tweeted. “This is a terrible idea.”

“If it really does mean breaking into a school, it could be an accident waiting to happen,” Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, told the Texas Tribune.

Read the full op-ed here.

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