Kripke's piece last week was a combination of solid reporting with the plaintive cry of a mother who must send her own child into this school. She wrote:

"I call the Chief of Police. He assures me that within two days, metal detectors would be installed on campus. He sounds relieved. Without them, he says he can't know if a weapon is in the school. He 'cannot guarantee the safety of anyone in the building.'

"Two days later, when detectors are not installed, I call him to find out where they are. He tells me that he provided school administrators with detailed information about how to purchase them. 'I even tried to borrow them, meantime, from other districts, the airport,' says Chief Gary Adams ...

"We should have them. If it's going overboard, we should go overboard. Chief Adams has worked as a police officer for more than 35 years, and as Chief, here and elsewhere, for 20."

My own kid attended a city high school where they had metal detectors. They're anything but foolproof. Williams raised the issue of properly staffing them, and that's entirely legitimate. The teacher at my son's school who told me this story is retired now, so I guess I can tell it:

She told me she had seen guns in backpacks of gang guys. I asked her what she did about it. She said, "Nothing. I'm not going to mess with those guys."

I asked my son if he was afraid of the gang kids. He said not at all. Everybody knew just never to meet their eyes.

People in the Park Cities have gone to a lot of trouble and spent a lot of money providing their children with an atmosphere that is not like the surrounding city. One argument against metal detectors is that they help create exactly the kind of penal lock-down culture that people move to the Park Cities to escape.

And, look, metal detectors are ghetto. No question about it. But where do we think the ghetto ends these days? Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and injured 13 including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011, was not a gang kid. James Holmes, who killed 12 in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20 wasn't a gang member. Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children and six teachers last December in Newtown, Connecticut, wasn't in a gang.

Williams, the spokesperson for Highland Park schools, told me school personnel have not ruled out metal detectors forever. Meanwhile, they are using hand-held wands to search any "suspicious persons." But the person behind the threats has been walking all over this school, shoulder to shoulder, right in their faces every day without arousing enough suspicion to get caught.

Whoever is doing this is not going to come into Highland Park High School dressed as a Hollywood Blood or Crip. What is it the school officials think they would spot that might initiate a wand search?

I could get all nasty about this. I almost always do when I write about the Park Cities. I don't know what my excuse is. Bad Personality Syndrome.

But the horrific images of the past year, heavy and sickening in all our hearts, are somehow just too sobering for invective. The threats that people in the Park Cities are living with now should sadden and alarm us all.

It's also understandable that people there would resist the invasion of this terrible licking flame of danger, which of course must seem to them to be coming from without, given how hard they have striven to insulate themselves from just such things. But there's the thing, Park Cities people. It's not coming from outside. It's coming from the bosom of your own community.

Someone who knows you, who is familiar to you, who moves among you without arousing suspicion, is providing you with warning after warning that the very worst thing may happen. Something is "building." The threats are "not a hoax." He or she or they have shown you the ammunition. This is when you do everything in your power to save the lives of your children and the people who teach them.

Williams told me finding a gun in the school would have been "alarming" but said they had found only "a handful of small-caliber bullets." She described Kripke to me as "quite verbal" about the metal detectors. She said, "This is kind of her one-woman crusade, to tell you the truth."

Fine. But tell me. If the unthinkable does happen, if children are shot and killed with .22-caliber bullets and the floors run red with their blood, what will Kripke be then?

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6 comments
Ithy
Ithy

I consider myself a fairly moderate individual, but Jim, you're missing the bigger picture.  It's not about being an Urban/Inner city school.  It's about someone wanting to disrupt education in one way or annother.  Go back to spring of 1999 to Allen and you'll see an entire school year end cancelled because of repeated bomb threats.  The next year every single campus in the district had metal detectors and at least one security officer at the primary entrance door.  At elementary schools this was one and 1. At others (like the high school) there were close to 15 detectors that every student had to pass through on the way into the building with full contents search (Bookbags, Musical Instrument cases, Gym Bags, etc).  All of this extra process had one significant benefit.  Absolutely zero bomb threats were called in and many potential cases for illegal items to be brought in were curbed.   Everyone makes the blatant assumption that it can't be their own "precious snowflake" but in order for these tragic events to happen, there has to be at least one yellow snowball that ruins it for everyone.


--A graduate of Allen Schools affected by the "Year with no end"  

RJette
RJette

There have been two shooting incidents outside the front doors of HPHS in the past  - one was hushed up because of the kid's parents and another was blamed on "a crazy lady".  In December, machetes were found hidden on campus.

cjbwalton
cjbwalton

Your third to last paragraph is one of the most powerful I have ever read. 

tim_lebsack
tim_lebsack like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

re: "One argument against metal detectors is that they help create exactly the kind of penal lock-down culture that people move to the Park Cities to escape."

Government schooling IS a penal lock-down. 


 

NoOneReadsTheEvidenc
NoOneReadsTheEvidenc like.author.displayName 1 Like

Helen Williams is a piece of work. She assumes it is a student, but as you look at this case it could very well be a parent volunteer, or an unhappy employee.....or a cop. She just doesn't know who it is, and perhaps if Ms. Helen spent her time focused on finding a solution versus attacking a mother with a child in the school who also happens to be a nationally renowned writer who dared to speak up, something could be done about this abysmal situation.

Has anyone in LE  (that's law enforcement) subpoened the spoof app providers? Maybe Helen could explain why that theory makes sense--you know, since she has no issues trashing a reporter who has already been confirmed as having been accurate. Here's another idea--forensics could tell us if they were able to lift any prints from the notes that exclude those who turned in the notes--how about fingerprinting all employees and students and matching those prints to the notes?

rosie-o
rosie-o like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

That's the thing the people involved in these mass shootings are not ghetto gangster kids, it's the white kid next door. These people are too worried about appearances, who cares!!??  These are your children!!!! Wake up people!!

 
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