Public schools

Public Schools Increasingly Resemble Prisons

Guards, locks, cameras...


Back to school usually means new notebooks, new clothes and new teachers. But this year it also means more security, after the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"We would be remiss if we didn't take a lesson from the Sandy Hook shooting, as horrible as it was," said North Carolina Republican Rep. Craig Horn. He co-sponsored the state's new plan to allow retired police officers or military veterans to serve as volunteer school security officers if they meet requirements set by local sheriffs and police chiefs.

More than 450 bills were introduced in statehouses this year on school security measures. After thousands of hours of debate, what emerged at the state level are relatively small-scale plans to pay for security upgrades like adding classroom-door locks that can be used from the inside and outside, fortifying school entrances, installing security cameras and allowing teachers or volunteers, in very limited circumstances, to carry guns on campus.