Though it’s sad to say, tragedy tends to be the biggest inspiration for change. Recent events have inspired a lot of ideas in the past couple of months, both realistic and radical. So, how is it affecting schools and other institutions in the Sacramento area?
First off, one of the biggest things to come into question lately has been security in schools. The gated campuses that used to make students feel trapped now sometimes make them feel safer. In fact, according to a California Mental Health Care and Preparedness Survey compiled by the California Endowment, 50% of voters support putting armed police officers at every school, and 31% support allowing teachers trained with firearms to bring guns on campus.
“I think it’s sad that it’s come to this,” says Julia Franklin, a special education specialist. “However, some changes are absolutely crucial in order to protect our students.”
The physical well-being of students isn’t the only thing that has been threatened in recent years. According to the survey mentioned earlier, voters backed improving mental health services over installing more security cameras and metal detectors by a margin of 66% to 27%. Many believe that guns and high-security is not the way to go when it comes to easing the tensions that have arisen since the Newtown tragedy. An ideal strategy for preventing street violence is to treat mental illness before it gets out of hand.
California isn’t exactly ranked high in the nation right now when it comes to providing students with access to school counselors. The recommended standard is currently one counselor per 250. The average for California is one counselor per 1,014 students. That coupled with the fact that America’s economic state has greatly reduced funding for mental health treatment bring up many concerns.
With tensions worsening day by day, some argue that guns and guards are needed in order to keep school campuses secure. Others however believe that these somewhat extreme measures do more harm than good, by adding more pressure on students and making the once safe learning environment seem like a prison.
One way or another, a change in California’s learning system is inevitable.