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It takes a village…

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ten years ago, a school shooting would have caused widespread panic and disbelief. Today, for many people it is a sad reminder of what kind of society we live in. It seems with each passing day we become immune and unattached to the news of violence in our schools.

Does this decrease the severity of the problem? The answer is not at all.

School security in itself is a problem. Many believe putting thousands of dollars worth of security equipment, a list that includes metal detectors, security cameras and other such things, in a school will help. Does this help the problem, or does it just seem to help? When these security measures fail, what should be done about the problem?

Students themselves should be aware of their surroundings. They should be keenly alert to what is going on around them, who they are with, who they are surrounded by and many other details. Preventative medicine is the best medicine. We all know children are more observant when it comes to their surroundings than adults. Students should harness this attribute and use it.

After school shootings occur, there is always a search for someone to blame, whether it is teachers, parents or members of the local community. The old African proverb reminds of that we all have a stake in a child’s success and failures.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” All of these people are instrumental in the upbringing of today’s youth. We learn our values from our parents, friends, religious beliefs and environment. Why shouldn’t all these factors have a stake in what goes right, and wrong, with a child?

Each of these groups has a responsibility to provide the populace with the best care they are able to muster. Removing any of these groups from the equation is like pulling the base from a house of cards; it has no choice but to collapse.

We should strive to work together to keep kids safe. If we say, “It’s not my problem,” one day it just might be. Why wait until it is one’s problem to search for a solution? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

We live in a society that progressively gets worse with each passing day. While we cannot fix every problem, we can try to protect those who sometimes cannot protect themselves.

In the view of this board, prevention begins with awareness from all ends of the spectrum, from the parents to the school administrators, and all people have a stake in ensuring the safety of the students in schools.

This column originally appeared in the August 28 edition of The Daily Mississippian, the daily publication at University of Mississippi.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.