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Hardening Schools Can Protect Kids From Shooters, Not clear Backpacks

Dallas Independent School District (DISD) stated this week that starting in Fall 2022, all 6th-12th grade students must use clear or mesh backpacks to dissuade pupils from bringing unlawful objects such as firearms to class.

Corporate media coverage of DISD's new policy indicates the change was suggested by DISD's Safety Task Force and Internal Task Force after the Uvalde school shooting in May.

DISD's bag policy is unlikely to alleviate problems or acquire acceptance in Texas. Several Texas school districts have instituted clear-backpack policies, leading to teasing and privacy concerns. After a tragic shooting in 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, abandoned its clear-bag policy.

This new backpack policy may stop students from bringing in illegal materials, but it won't fix the Uvalde tragedy's concerns. First, the Uvalde shooter wasn't a student. Second, the DISD backpack policy does not apply to Robb Elementary pupils.

Additionally, a new report from the Texas House of Representatives found that “systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making” by both law enforcement and school officials are to blame for the shooting in Uvalde. Neither of those problems — “systemic failures” and “egregiously poor decision making” — will be fixed by the security theater of clear backpacks.

DISD admits this, “backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns” are not enough.

The district claims backpacks are “merely one of several steps in the district’s comprehensive plan to better ensure student and staff safety,” but unless that comprehensive plan includes hardening schools, DISD’s efforts to protect students and teachers are futile.

As Federalist Senior Editor David Harsanyi noted in a column earlier this week: “Most planned mass shootings target gun-free zones where there is no one to stop them until the police arrive.”

“It is impossible, unless one is a mind-reader, to quantify how often the presence of good guys with guns dissuades murders. It is likely that shooters, suicidal or not, prefer soft targets that allow them to make the most gruesome impact, which is one reason I simply can’t understand why we wouldn’t want to train (willing) teachers to use firearms,”, Harsanyi said.

Targeted by shooters. What's more susceptible than a classroom full of teachers and pupils without defenses? Especially if police wait an hour.

Bad men are deterred by guns and tight security. It keeps happening. Anti-gun advocates oppose instructors carrying in the classroom. Democrats have rejected measures to fund and formalize security overhauls in public schools to protect pupils.

Even the media criticize school hardening. In a May report, the Texas Tribune claimed that school security procedures "didn't save Uvalde." Problem? Uvalde was not a hardened school nor town, as evidenced by police blunders.

A secure school would lock its doors. It would have a single, controlled entrance. A school without armed teachers or a skilled, armed security guard can't manage threats.

Even though Texas has taken steps to urge schools to increase security, most districts like DISD discourage and often restrict school officials from carrying guns on school premises for self-defense. Change that.

Uvalde showed us that schools can't wait for police to neutralize a deadly threat. School districts like DISD must stop focusing on security theater like transparent backpacks and instead invest in worst-case scenario protection.

The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on TheFederalist.

Written by Staff Reports

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