Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

We Need More Security at Schools

Popular media platforms are trending with debates regarding gun-control. It seems like I can’t escape hearing about it. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that it’s important and relevant to the recent shootings. Demonstrated in the video is a man who tries to prove a point about the need for security by whipping out a knife at a parent-teacher association (PTA) meeting. The room is split with some people clapping in support of the man and others in shock arguing against the man. However, both groups are in consensus about more security at schools. What people fail to recognize is that there are some schools that have been implementing prison-like security practices within the past decade. This is not a new phenomenon. Many high schools in my area have metal detectors at the entrances and implement a no-backpack policy.

I come from a majority-minority community in Southern California. I was accustomed to on-campus police officers with guns roaming the school. It actually surprised me that some of my college peers had not experienced the level of security I had in school. I believe that racial constructions manifest in the way security measures are implemented in schools around the country. People of color are constantly labeled as potential criminals because of historical stereotypes set forth by colonizers.  I do believe security in schools is necessary but to make it the same for all schools.




  1. burkeozk

    Over-policing black and brown bodies is far too common. And more importantly, as you’ve said, it is not coincidental. It seems like the whole world supports the March for Our Lives campaign and the dire need for gun regulation but this is not the first time our country has been demanded to consider why people are dying so frequently. After a string of black boys and men dying from the combination of police brutality, gun violence, and sheer racism, Black Lives Matter established peaceful protest to ask for black men to stop dying and no one really caring enough to make changes. March for Our Lives is contextualized by white, suburban families and school buildings while Black Lives Matter is rooted in the streets. The details differ but the message for institutional change is the same, yet when black and brown teenagers were marching for their lives, they did not receive the same positive nationwide attention. Black and brown people, of all ethnicities and cultures, recognize the presence of violence in their daily life, it’s almost like it’s a birthright in America.

  2. Bryana Barron

    I agree with Kirsten on her opinion of this video and gun-control issue in America. Too much of the time, Black/Brown bodies are neglected by the system, the media, and security of the country.
    I cannot help but think if a Black parent would have done this in the video, there would have been a different reaction but since it is a white male, it was okay. I see how the white parent makes the point of how easy it is to carry a weapon into a school building but it was still uncalled for. With the national attention of the March For Our Lives Movement, we have to keep in mind that the Black Lives Matter Movement and demonstrations in Ferguson, Sacramento, and Austin are still as important. I call for equality of treatment as well like Manny states but I think the reality of some of these affluent schools doing so is unlikely. I also think that there will still be a neglect in searches and enter processes into school buildings in a predominantly school of color.

  3. Lauren

    I think this video was very shocking. From the start of the video I did not think the man posed any harm to the women, and I was aware that he was attempting to make a point. However, I was shocked when he pulled a knife out of his pocket. My high school did not have much security such as metal detectors, so I was a little surprised that yours had a lot of security. I think that it would be beneficial if more schools implemented higher levels of security as well, since someone can so easily and discretely have a weapon in their pocket at such a public event.

  4. suessn

    I agree that school security should be similar in all schools to prevent discrimination. The population of my home town is mostly white and there was minimal security in my school: one guard that basically sat in a room alone all day on his phone. At times I did feel unsafe at school and I wished there was more security, and I think that implementing a national standard would be very helpful.

  5. jimminkc

    In my Africana Studies class a girl was talking about how she feels like on Dickinson’s campus she feels like her black body is being policed at all times. When she is with her friends, white students are always telling her that they are being too loud even when it isn’t quiet hours. She felt and I agree that this is just another way of policing black bodies.

  6. entsiee

    Same here too. I went to a high school in Los Angeles in a majority-minority community and seeing a police car and police officers on campus everyday was too common. The school had “random” searches of people’s backpack more often than they should have. It was extremely uncomfortable for me to go school the next day after hearing about an unarmed teen/adult being shot down by cops the day before. When I went to take my SAT test on a different campus–a white populated campus, I never saw any police officers around but when I took my next one on another different campus, I saw two police patrol cars with officers around. Yes, we need security on school campus however, it has to be universal for all. School campus are places for some students to feel safe therefore, having too much security on one campus and not doing the same on the other is injustice.

    • warrickj

      I agree. In terms of experiences, I’ve experienced kind of the opposite. My high school did not have any police officers present ‘securing’ us. Instead, our deans, teachers, and even our principal took up the everyday tasks of keeping us safe. My high school was a turn-around school. Originally deemed an ‘unsafe’ environment for students to thrive in, packed with armed police officers patrolling the halls, my school turned around its entire structure. There is no longer a police presence at my school which now makes the same students once patrolled much more comfortable and focused on learning. If my high school would have continued to have such a high police presence, metal detectors and random bag searches, not only would I have been uncomfortable, I am certain that I would not be able to flourish in that tensious environment.

  7. sarmiena

    Coming from a community where all schools have an intense security system, it became normal to me seeing police officers walking around campus and having random backpack checks. However, I never took the time to realize that this didn’t occurred in communities where the majority were minorities. I have to agree that having high security in only targeted communities of color makes us feel like criminals. If security is implemented to make students feel safe, why can’t we also have the same for all schools, where the minorities aren’t the majority?

  8. Eve Giordano

    It is truly astonishing what security efforts have been put in place to secure children while they are in school. What a world we live in where pre-k students roam the halls with strapped officers. I loved how real your description of your school security was growing up. It really opened my eyes because I did not come from a place where there increased security measures. Has it made you more conscious of the gun problem in America or are you desensitized to it now?

  9. harneyk

    I completely agree with you that schools need greater security measures, and that it is imperative that they be equal in schools of all communities. I went to an all-girls private high school with a predominantly white student body in a predominantly white and affluent town, and our campus police were retired police officers that were unarmed. Before that though, I went to public school in my town that is much more racially diverse and much affluent, and in my middle school we had armed police officers roaming the hallways. The high school in my town just installed metal detectors. The difference in school security is something I hadn’t really thought about critically until recently, and I think my own experience also speaks to Kayla’s point about the over-policing of black and brown bodies.

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