It goes without saying that a secure learning environment is a top priority of any school system. The increase of school shootings in the United States cannot be ignored, and school systems must adapt and innovate. Unfortunately, active shooter scenarios are just one of the issues facing school systems: gangs, human trafficking, opioid addiction, and bullying are all problems faced by students, faculty, and administrators. Fairfax County is blessed to be the safest jurisdiction of its size in the nation, and our schools are no exception. In short, our schools are safe.
A recent report by the National School Boards Association summed up the challenge in school security, "Some researchers state that the presence of security officers and outdoor cameras made students feel safer, but others suggest that more security may affect students psychologically and sow a seed of fear." The goal should not be to make our schools a fortress where metal detectors and armed guards are ever present. The goal should be working with the community, parents, faculty, staff, and of course students to address these concerns in a constructive way, and follow through on proactive and preventive measures.