Security Measures Are Making Me Feel Like A Criminal At My Kid’s School‏

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In a post-Sandy Hook world, many schools around the country have taken new security measures to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff. I applaud every effort to keep our kids safe from harm and I will never be the parent that fights any of these initiatives. That said, sometimes, they still make me feel like a criminal at my kid’s school.

Like most of America, I won’t ever forget the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. Watching the news from the lobby at work, I was horrified. The only thing I could think about was getting to my kids’ school and picking them up. I watched the news all weekend in a haze of tears and shock. My daughter was in kindergarten at the time, so knowing that those sweet children were around her age was very hard to swallow. I felt very deeply for their parents. How could you not?

In the weeks following the shooting, we got several notices home from school about our district’s current security measures. We were told they would be in review and that security at every school in the district would be improved upon. Of course, this was comforting to hear. Our district is large and already quite advanced with technology, but we could always improve. They already had the software in place to scan the ID’s of anyone entering the schools as well as cameras to monitor every point of entry but they put plans in place to do more.

A year after Sandy Hook, our elementary school was outfitted with a new entryway. The main office was moved to the very front and doors were installed that prevented entry without office personnel buzzing you in first. Again, this did nothing but comfort me. I am anxious by nature and the thought of something happening to my kids while in school kept me up at night. Anything that could help make them safer was ok in my book.

That said, I am not sure I will ever get over being asked for my driver’s license when I pick them up. They don’t ask every time. Usually, only if I volunteer during the day or if I pick them up during the school day instead of at the final bell. I really don’t mind and I will never give them a hard time, but the office employees know me. They know my kids. I know that when I was a kid, no one would have questioned my mom when she came to pick me up and I guess it just saddens me that this is the world we live in now. It’s a little weird to go to a place like your child’s school, that is supposed to feel welcoming and homey, and be asked to show ID and see cameras at every corner.

I don’t want to pine for “the old days” as if everything were perfect. I am not naive and I know that our kids are better off with this kind of awareness in their school. It is necessary now and no amount of nostalgia should override the need to keep them safe. I just think I will always miss that innocence that I fear we have now lost. Having the main doors of the school building open on a warm day for the nice breeze or having our parents come in whenever they needed to without having to get through security. I am glad that my kids’ school makes safety a top priority but I don’t think I will ever get over being sad that it even needs to be this way.

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