The focus in Indiana on dealing with mass shooting events is not guns, but public building themselves. One high school is now a test case for turning schools into bunkers, and the industry that this is spawning could cost taxpayers billions on "hardening schools" rather than teaching kids.
“I know it sounds politically crass,” said Mason Wooldridge, the co-founder of Our Kids Deserve It, a group that works to promote what many might consider aggressive school safety standards. “But if Sandy Hook Elementary or the college in Oregon had what Indiana is promoting in their schools, nobody would have died.”
The safety standards Wooldridge is working to implement in Indiana schools are no ordinary measures.
They’ve already been implemented at Southwestern High School, a small school in rural Shelbyville. There, not only do children perform “active shooter drills” alongside fire drills, teachers wear special key fobs that alert police faster than a 911 call. Classrooms have “hardened doors” that lock automatically and “hardened exterior glass” windows to deflect both bullets and brute force. Cameras in the school have “shooter detection technology” — tools created for the military — to help law enforcement more quickly locate suspects. And if the suspect is trapped in the hallway, smoke cannisters can be detonated to slow down the shooter.
Wooldridge thinks these measures could have prevented the deadly outcomes of shootings like Sandy Hook and last week’s incident at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
Selling schools as bunkers is the next frontier, folks. You thought charter schools were profitable? How about spending millions per school to retrofit them with bulletproof glass, reinforced doors, security cameras, electronic locks, security gates and fences, and panic rooms? And of course you love your kids, so as a parent you're not going to say no to protecting your kids from being slaughtered at school, right?
In the months following Sandy Hook, President Obama signed numerous executive orders to develop model emergency response plans for schools and provide $30 million in grants for schools to develop their own plans, among other things. But there has been no effort to create a nationwide standard for public learning institutions when it comes to active shooter response.
“Nationally, there’s nothing being done to create standards of safety,” Wooldridge said. “But in Indiana, they are doing all those things.”
It’s likely that the idea would receive pushback from conservative groups, which generally advocate a state or local approach. In comments to the conservative Daily Signal, for example, the Heritage Foundation’s education fellow Lindsey Burke said initiatives like Indiana’s shouldn’t be handled by the federal government.
If national standards aren’t acquired, however, it will be up to school districts themselves to decide whether to invest in these measures — and with the high costs, it’s likely that they would be implemented mostly in predominantly-white suburban schools. Indeed, the small Southwestern High School is 97 percent white, and the median income level is above the state’s average.
Oh, I see how this works. After all, there's no point in protecting schools for poor black inner-city kids. Hell, we're closing those schools entirely. We'll need to get the money to protect white suburban schools from somewhere in the budget, you know.
Sounds like the next great school scam to me. And it's the schools that need the most help that won't see a dime.