If last month’s PTA meeting was Pythonesque fun, then today’s meeting was a demonstration in frustration. The parents were frustrated that their children were subjected to a random weapon search. “We didn’t KNOW that was a new policy.” The principal was frustrated that the parents were upset. “Didn’t you get the *automated call this morning?” I was frustrated at the comments and attitudes. “There should be a way to let all of us who don’t follow school board stuff know about policies.”
The School Board‘s meeting schedule, agenda and minutes from past meetings are all available online. Most of the board’s meetings are broadcast live on television. You can call, e-mail or have a face-to-face meeting with school board members. The best board members (Indya Kincannon) send out newsletters to keep people updated on school board activities.
The local newspapers report on local and statewide school related decisions. Your government reps have newsletters and websites discussing pending legislation. Local and National PTA/PTO groups send out regular newsletters about anything and everything that is happening in schools. Bloggers write daily about the good and bad happening in their children’s schools. Parents tweet when something happens that others need to know. Students use Facebook to organize, complain and support each other. There are a million voices screaming out loud about education on national, statewide and local levels. Listen to them. Join in the conversations.
*The automated call was set to go at 8:30 this morning. It is now after 7 p.m. and I still haven’t gotten a phone call.
10 thoughts on “What’s happening in my child’s school?”
I knew they had approved it a couple months ago but I didn’t get the phone call or I would have reminded my son to keep his AK at home.
Just don’t let him carry a tylenol.
8:30AM? Seriously? And exactly how many parents (working) does this exclude getting the info? 8:30PM the PREVIOUS night makes much more sense.
Exactly what kind of search were they subjected to? Opening lockers? Emptying pockets? Frisking? Metal detectors? Stripping and cavity examinations? Harsh language?
For people “random weapon search” connotes everything from the cursory search they do in your camera case at Dollywood to full-on Gestapo interrogations. Depending on your political leaning, world-view, cynicism, tin-foil-hattedness, and general disposition.
Never mind – I caught the details on Doug’s site.
It was an airport style search. I was distracted from the search by the reactions of people to something that was discussed in the media extensively. The fact that most of the people who weren’t at the PTA meeting (during school hours) probably have no idea that this happened, bugs me just as much.
Both of my daughters have been selected for the random search at their schools this year. One is in high school and the other in middle school; they were both checked with the hand held metal detector. I know this isn’t a perfect system, but it’s random enough that maybe it will cause kids to stop and think before bringing weapons to school. You never know if you will be the one searched. As it were, we laughed that both of our daughter’s were selected.
Miriam- locks keep honest people honest. A self-destructive child will risk the 12.5% chance of getting caught and bring their weapon to school anyway. Actually that 12.5% chance is significantly lower considering that 12.5% is based upon pulling 1 in 8 students aside. The truth is that we don’t randomly search everyday. How many times out of the 180 days of school does a particular school get searched? The They claim schools are picked for random searches through a ping pong ball lottery. According to Wikipedia, KCS has 92 facilities. Let’s assume that all facilities are in the ping pong ball lottery. Odds:1 in 92 (1 percent chance of being picked for a random search). I’m not sure how they decide when to do random searches but I know 2 schools were searched this week so let’s assume a search a week so 1 search every 7 days in a 180 day school year would give us 25.7 facilities searches with the chance that one facility could be searched multiple times so your odds of your facility being picked in the school year are 1 in 25.7 (roughly 4 percent chance) IF you were in the 1 percent from the pingpong ball lottery.
Anyhow, I am certain that is not how it works but regardless, the chance of being searched on any particular day is fairly slim. The students can further reduce the chance of getting caught by ditching their contraband when the officer steps on the bus to explain the process. Or by observing the headcount and handing contraband to the friend in front or behind them. This is not a deterrent.
I’m sure you are right about honest people and locks. But just a note about the 1 in 7 that they were supposedly searching at both my daughter’s schools…the high schooler was NOT the number to be searched. But they asked her to step aside and be searched anyway-I guess she looked “shifty”. It was my experience teaching that the students themselves were the biggest help in finding weapons or drugs because the cannot stop bragging about themselves.
Miriam- your observation is echoed by the US Secret Service and Department of Education’s document Threat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and to Creating Safe School Climates