Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Charleston County School District 2018 Review: Top 10 Problems-- #10

In my arbitrary ranking of 10 problems facing the Charleston County School District during 2018, Safety in Schools comes in at number 10.

Just this week, our local rag published an op-ed bewailing the plight of schoolchildren who fear for their safety in school. That's a false narrative created and enriched by repetitive reporting of isolated events. Statistically, those students are much more likely to be injured in an accident on their way to or from school. Given the age of our school buses, maybe we should teach them to fear that.

As with the other lemmings encouraged by fearful parents, the Charleston County School District kicked into full gear, that is, grandstanding mode.  Yet in January of 2018, students at Gregg Mathis Charter High in a botched robbery shot a man to death on their way to school, then arrived late to class. The threat of bodily harm to CCSD students frequently comes from the student body: was that pistol ever inside Gregg Mathis? Seems likely. 

In March, as students across the country walked out of their schools to protest gun violence, three students at Morningside Middle School were arrested for having and handling a gun on campus. One student brought the gun because someone at school a fellow student had stolen his money. No outsiders needed to apply. Schools' reporting of weapons on campus is hazy at best and self-serving at worst. Perhaps our state legislature should put some teeth into reporting standards, starting with separating guns from knives.

By mid-April, egged on by the national "conversation," the Charleston County School Board set aside $2 million of its operating budget for more security in schools. Here's the list of expenditures that will surely make our schools safe: School resource officer in every elementary school: $1,800,000; District search team: $305,000; Emergency planner: $90,503;Security personnel at district office: $50,000; Private relief officers for elementary schools: $238,000; Private security officers to provide security checks at middle and high schools: $238,000; 24-hour security operations center: $167,000. In other words, mostly more bureaucracy. 

As grandstanding on gun violence wound down along with the school year, a charitable business offered to install bullet-proof doors to a few classrooms in a free pilot program. Actually, it wasn't a charity, but a business hoping that future Board members would spend up to $40 million to replace every classroom door in the county.

Feel less fearful? 

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