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School safety in NH called balancing act
"School security is a constant discussion for our administration, and our feeling is our policy is effective," said Milford Superintendent Robert Suprenant. "We are trying to balance safety with maintaining a school environment."
"We want to make sure that everyone feels safe, but at the same time, we don't want to turn the schools into armed fortresses," said Board of Education member William Mosher, who serves of the board's Policy Committee, which reviewed the district's procedures and protocols.
Over the past year since Sandy Hook, while school security has been at the top of most agendas, there have been 25 school shootings, including Friday's attack at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., which ended with one student gravely injured and the shooter taking his own life. According to the Daily Beast news website, which compiled those numbers, those shootings resulted in 25 deaths and 26 injuries.
Even with the help of the homeland security grants, districts are also having to shift funds from other accounts to pay for safety upgrades. Nashua picked up a $50,000 grant, but as Mosher said, it was a drop in the bucket compared with what was actually spent. The new Columbine locks alone, which allow teachers to lock classrooms from the inside, were a $407,000 investment.
"We have to have something, or someone, to help identify these mentally unstable people responsible for these shootings," said Mosher. "There are certain things we can learn from the past, you can spot erratic behavior."
"Short of putting our classrooms on another planet, I think we've done just about everything we can."
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