Now that the Columbia County school board has done exactly what it should have done to a request for expensive and questionable security measures at one elementary school - by saying no - the next step should be to examine just what it is that parents are scared of.
Last November, Blue Ridge Elementary and other nearby schools were locked down when a suspected petty criminal ran from deputies at a traffic stop.
Like many other county schools, especially older ones, Blue Ridge has several buildings that are attached to the main school only by covered walkways. Students who were in the outbuildings during the lockdown couldn't get to the lunchroom.
Alarmed by the event, the Blue Ridge School Council soon asked the board to wall up the walkways to provide safe passage between the buildings.
After entirely too much dithering, the board last week said no. Not only is the cost unreasonable, at roughly $300,000, but other schools with similar designs could be prompted to ask for their own expensive upgrades.
Why would they? Is the fear that schools are unsafe? To the contrary. Campus incidents get a high profile because of their rarity. It's all a matter of perspective: a fight in a nightclub isn't big news; a fight in a church is.
Even more rare are cases of campus violence by outsiders. Let's face it; the most common problems are from the ultimate on-campus insiders - students themselves.
Still, in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings that Blue Ridge Principal Joyce Long rightly says have again raised everyone's awareness of campus safety, Columbia County school officials could do a real service to put their own high profile on a review of all campus security measures.
Such a review would show the public exactly what's keeping their children safe, and it would help find any weak spots that need fixing.
Most of all, it would provide the kind of reassurance that no brick walls could ever bring.
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