The Greenville ISD Board of Trustees is tackling an issue this summer that might be a matter of life or death. We’re talking about actions aimed at bolstering school security, specifically those intended to prevent a fellow student or an intruder from entering a school with a deadly weapon.
Some may regard the term “life or death” as alarmist, an exaggeration. We beg to differ. Here’s a brief review of local and regional security incidents from the past school year.
• In December police arrested a Rockwall High School student after learning of texts threatening a school shooting.
• In January police arrested a 14-year-old Royse City High School student after they found a loaded 9 mm handgun in his backpack.
• In March police in Royse City were alerted after students participating in a TikTok fad fired pellets at one another on school grounds. To alarmed passersby, the air guns resembled lethal firearms.
• May saw more disturbing incidents. A day after 19 elementary schoolchildren and two teachers were massacred in Uvalde, Rains High School and Middle School students were placed on lockdown after firearms and ammunition were found in a vehicle at the high school parking lot. More weapons were found later in another vehicle.
Police in Terrell were put on alert after learning of a threatening social media post just two days after the Uvalde shootings.
At Greenville High School, a juvenile was detained in connection with a fake pipe bomb left in a restroom. The school had to be evacuated.
This is a sampling of the disturbing situations experienced at schools in North Texas last school year. Those are only the ones we know about. We’re certain that similar events occurred at hundreds of other districts throughout the state and nation. Since 2018, there have been 119 school shootings in the United States, according to a tally kept by Education Week.
So far this summer, the GISD, in response to the Uvalde massacre and mandates from the Texas Education Agency, has put in place an array of new security measures – everything from locked classrooms to see-through backpacks. Now, the school board has decided to expand its police force in order to have a police officer for each campus in the district. That’s six additional officers at a cost of $520,000 – a lot of money that will not go toward instruction.
Still, we wholeheartedly support the board in its effort to harden our schools even at a steep cost in dollars and diminished public access to public buildings. Sadly, in today’s society, preventing our children from being killed at school is on par with educating them.