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Editorial: School-safety discussion is worthwhile

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opinion Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

School security has been on a lot of parents' minds since the shooting last month in Newtown, Conn. It makes sense. While schools are still among the safest places a child can be, a high-profile incident like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School is sure to make an impact.

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That's what brought parents, police officers and school employees together earlier this week at Farmington High School for a district-run discussion of what is being done to keep students safe, and what changes can be made to make them safer.

The focus for much of the night was on the elementary level. Those are the students who seem least able to fend for themselves, and after what happened in Connecticut the ones who seem most vulnerable.

The district is already making changes at Akin Road Elementary School, part of a larger package of improvements, that will make it easier to see who is coming and going. But to a degree there is a limit to what can be done physically in the buildings. All of the district's elementary schools are built with open, welcoming entryways. That's good for bringing people in, but not good for controlling where they go. Where the district's middle and high schools funnel visitors through the office before they can get into the school, but creating those kinds of restrictions at any of the district's elementary schools would be difficult and expensive.

There are other plans in place, though as principal Ben Januschka pointed out Monday it's hard to know just how good those plans are unless they are tested.

An incident like what happened last month is enough to frighten any parent. It gets them thinking about their children and whether they are truly secure.

The reality is, students are very safe when they're at school. But it never hurts to think about how they could be made safer. That's what Monday's meeting was about, and we think that's a good thing.

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