Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Safe schools?

The start of the new school year has brought with it a series of incidents in and around schools that prompt one to ask why these incidents are happening. What might be leading to this spike in violence in and near schools?
With the start of classes last week, several students were injured in a stabbing at Sir George Ross Secondary School in London. A man is stabbed outside a school in Toronto. This week, two students stabbed behind Bloor Collegiate Institute. Again in London, a school lockdown is initiated at Westminster Secondary School after reports of someone wandering the property with a handgun are received. Even today, reports are received of a man wandering through a Brampton elementary school with a shotgun.
The incidents prompt responses from the constabulary that schools are safe.
"Our schools are safe," (London Police) Chief Murray Faulkner said yesterday.
"But we have to keep in mind that schools are a reflection of a our society and we are seeing more and younger people involved in violence than ever before," Faulkner said. "It's not like the old days when two people have a disagreement and fight and maybe even become friends afterwards. Now there's a group mentality that kicks in where all the friends get involved. That then heightens the violence and the chance for more severe injuries."
The LPS is one of many that has school-based community resource officers, whose appearance in and of itself has drawn coverage and concern over the safety of schools, and in the linked example, whether their presence is the most appropriate option.
Are these incidents coincidental? Or are the symptomatic of a changing demographic? Or are school-based incidents simply being reported more frequently in the media than in the past?


Anonymous said...

I think it's a bit of everything you list ER.

Unfortunately it grabs headlines and bad news is good news for media. Present company excepted of course..but you get my drift.

Not many reports on how many schools go through a school year with no incidents at all.

I do think it's time in some areas of the province for boards, and gov't's to be more honest with their communities about just how safe schools can be and help outreach and educate parents/students about how to avoid unsafe situations and to become religious in reporting incidents.

Sadly, the system still reacts much too slowly for effective action to be taken.

The folks who make up the London Anti-bullying Coalition had very awful things happen to their children and banded together for lack of attention paid to them.

School safety is one of those issues that School Councils should be running with as often and possible. Sometimes the message to parents is best delivered by another parent.