To the Editor:
The Newtown High School has installed new protocols regarding students and visitors entering the building. Although some of these new procedures might be unnecessarily over cautious (drop boxes in vestibule for items to be delivered to students and adults surrendering car keys to security), hopefully these new steps will deter someone with bad intentions from committing violence in the school.
The one area that does not seem to be addressed in these new protocols is what the students themselves are bringing into the school. We should be mindful of the fact that the shooter at Sandy Hook was not far removed from the time that he was a student at the high school. If whatever it was that motivated him on 12/14 had done so a few years earlier, we could have had a massacre at the high school instead of Sandy Hook. It would have been very easy for him to have transported guns in his backpack while a student there and unfortunately the same is true for any disturbed student today, even with these new protocols in place.
The Board of Education and their security people would be well advised to consider some ways to prevent students in the high school, and possibly even in the middle school, from bringing weapons or other contraband into these buildings. Perhaps screening devices or metal detectors can be considered. I know it is a sorry state of affairs that we should have to screen teenagers in a learning environment but they also can’t get on a plane or enter a courthouse or federal building without some form of inspection.
We must recognize that the mind of the Sandy Hook shooter snapped at age 20, but he was certainly sick enough at ages 14 and 17 to have committed his atrocity then. Let us not look back and say there was more we could have done.
Schoolhouse Hill Road, Newtown January 3, 2014