While schools should not appear to be fortresses, some sort of perimeter security might have alerted school officials. Finally, the matter of internal campus security is impacted by these events. While teachers and students acted very bravely to prevent loss of life, there was no “lock-down” procedure in place. What follows is a section on proactive planning for a violent emergency, and one about attenuating the possibility of such an occurrence through counseling or anonymous reporting schemes.
In terms of policy actions, all of this is good; but none of it would have prevented the Red Lake incident. A crisis document that included a lockdown procedure might have saved some lives; and a policy of mentoring or other intervention in the lives of youth who exhibit anti-social behavior at school might have made an impact on Jeff Wise. At the school board policy level, however, there is a severe limitation when an individual decides to arm himself, crash onto campus in a police vehicle, and start shooting. The question for the writers of policy will be the balance between security and freedom. If we put a military-style, guarded perimeter around schools that are festooned with security personnel and no privacy at all for the students, the probability of another school shooting incident will certainly go down. The cost of that assurance will be high, however, as our children learn to fear everything and everybody.