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Bad signs of the times

I don’t even know what to say.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD will spend $55 million to tighten school security, including installing strategically placed panic buttons on campuses and replacing existing entry windows with bullet-resistant glass – upgrades experts call a necessary but unfortunate sign of the times.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the improvement, which will be completed districtwide by 2020, in a $1.2 billion bond election in May.

“We know that students are No. 1 and our staff is No 1. We’ve got to protect them,” said Roy Sprague, associate superintendent for facilities. “How do you put a price tag on someone’s life?”

Cy-Fair plans to add security vestibules to the front office area of 50 schools to keep unapproved visitors from gaining access, upgrade security cameras and install lockdown buttons and stand-alone emergency phones at all schools – widely considered the best practices in school safety. They’re also moving forward with one of the latest trends since 20 children and 6 adults were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012 – installing bullet-resistant glass at the front of schools.

This will make Cy-Fair, Texas’ third largest school system, one of the only districts in the region with bullet-resistant glass, although others are considering a more budget-friendly alternative of laminating existing windows with a coating to slow intruders.

When I was a kid in school in the 70s and 80s, the violent crime rate was a lot higher than it is now. And yet here we are, spending millions on panic buttons and bullet-resistant glass. The story notes that “the recent focus on school safety has led to a proliferation of vendors and products – meaning better, cheaper choices for schools”. I suppose the least we could do is be grateful that we’re getting a good deal for our millions. I’m going to stop here because I’m too depressed to continue, but if you want to keep going then read this dKos post for more.

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