W. Justin SomersYadkin County Farm Bureau President
December 17, 2012
Due to the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, I was greatly alarmed to find that I could walk into a Yadkin County elementary school this afternoon to pick up a sick grandchild with such ease. There was no one in the office when I walked in, and a teacher was leading her class out of a room close to the front door.
To give the staff person credit, she was attending to another sick child in another room. However, I did not know her, and I was able to sign my grandchild out with no questions asked and no ID produced.
Although my grandchild knows me and came with me, I would much rather have the staff ask for my ID, which I always carry into the schools. I believe the staff at all schools should always ask for ID and always check the approved list because any family member or other approved person may have been removed from the list without the child realizing it.
I do not fault the schools themselves as they are sorely understaffed just as all police departments are understaffed, too. President Obama said we must make changes, and we must. However, it is not all about gun control or lack of gun control. We need more staff manning the school doors and offices, and this may have to come from volunteers.
We need adults trained for security to provide security at the schools. While we may not be able to stop every tragedy in America, we need to take steps to protect our children as much as possible. Most working parents are not able to take off of work, so we need laws changing this so that each parent can have an opportunity to volunteer a few hours each month to their child’s school.
I obviously don’t have all the answers, but I think Yadkin County should provide a forum for concerned parents, grandparents and others to meet with school and law enforcement personnel to discuss any and all options available. I have four beautiful grandchildren in schools in Yadkin County and would do anything I could to ensure their safety while at school, and I know others feel the same way. I would rather Yadkin County take action now than to go through a tragedy such as Newtown, CT. I hope to see Yadkin County come up with a working solution and hope to see other people come up with suggestions.