Traverse City Record-Eagle

Our Views

June 13, 2014

Editorial: TCAPS takes positive steps to boost security

Like it or not, it’s a sign of our times.

The Traverse Area Public Schools Board of Education agreed to spend about $480,000 to install a device called The Boot on every classroom door by the time school opens in the fall.

The board also agreed to purchase so-called “blast shield” mechanisms to cover locks on exterior doors to delay someone trying to shoot their way through a locked door.

The boot devices are intended to let teachers seal off their classrooms in the event an intruder has gotten into the building.

It’s a simple device that uses a metal plate secured to the floor by a couple metal pegs to prevent a door from being opened.

The device could possibly be defeated, but someone would likely have to take down the entire door to get in.

We all know why we need to spend a half million in taxpayer dollars to make individual classrooms little fortresses, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

Since the Columbine High School massacre just over 15 years ago there have been a number of school shootings across the country, usually involving a disaffected kid lashing out at his (it’s virtually always a boy) tormentors.

The horror of Sandy Hook, however, took school shootings and the need for some kind of classroom security to a new level.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members. Some of the adults tried to shield the kids with their bodies but Lanza, armed with a semi-automatic rifle (which has since become a national best-seller), killed them all.

Before attacking the school, Lanza had killed his mother. He killed himself as police closed in.

Lanza shot through a glass panel next to the locked front doors to get into the school. Blast shields like the ones TCAPS just bought won’t stop someone willing to shoot their way through windows to get in.

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