Recent arguments about better security at schools have reminded me of a visit I made to the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica 10 years ago. It has the most extreme poverty I have ever seen. Two approximately 14-year-old girls wandered about in their school uniforms during a lunch break and offered themselves for prostitution. But the most shocking sight was a church surrounded by a tall chain-link fence with barbed wire atop and only one gate to enter the grounds. A high school close by had the same type enclosure. I asked why, and the answer was to protect them from being robbed clean. I toured the school and it was so poor that there was nothing in it of value to steal.
Recently here in our country 26 children and adults were robbed of their lives in a school. Now many are calling for armed faculty members to give better protection. That idea has risks as well. I remember teachers I would not trust with a gun.
So maybe we should surround schools with chain-link fences, barbed wire and locked gates like in Dominica. It does create a prison look, but we are talking about protecting lives instead of just property. It would make it tougher for someone to break into a school as just recently happened. It is also better than a gun in the hands of a teacher who goes berserk as my sixth-grade teacher did once. It might seem extreme, but it is reality in other countries. Fences would be safer than teachers with guns.
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