Better security needed

December 31, 2012 

RAYMOND TAKASHI SWENSON, Richland

Few of the news stories about the Connecticut school murders have addressed the responsibility of the local school board for physical security at the school. Everyone knows how to protect a building against armed attack: You hire armed guards and make anyone entering go through a metal detector and put their bags through an X-ray machine.

The White House, Congress, federal courts and other government buildings have that kind of security, and it works. The only reason we don't have the same kind of security at schools is (a) it costs money, (b) the risk that a shooting will take place in a particular school district during the tenure of any board member is very small, and (c) school boards cannot be sued over the policy decision to not pay for real physical security.

The debate should be refocused on the responsibility of school boards to protect children by creating a dedicated federal excise tax on ammunition and firearms that will purchase metal detectors and X-ray machines for school districts that commit to hiring security guards for at least three years. Then each community can hold its local school leadership responsible for protecting our children.

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