‘Appalling lack of security’ at KFHS

Published 8:27 pm Saturday, January 27, 2018

To the editor:

I am the husband of one of King’s Fork High School teachers, and I am more than concerned for her safety as well as her faculty colleagues, administrators and students at KFHS. In addition to the 15-year old student who brought a gun to the school on Tuesday, on Thursday there were anywhere between four to six fights that occurred at the bus-loading ramp and then during the school day. An administrator and some teachers who tried to break up fights were either knocked down or injured. It seems that some of the fights involved videos that were sent out to students that enraged others and exacerbated the anger and the need to retaliate. When students came into my wife’s classroom, their adrenaline was pumped up by either witnessing a fight or watching the video sent from other students. Distractions to learning continued with multiple police cars responding to these violent incidents.

These are the facts, and we need to be well aware of a horrific tragedy that occurred in a Kentucky high school, by another 15-year old, on Tuesday. Some adopt the attitude, “Well, this couldn’t happen in Suffolk!” My response is, “It already is.” And my question is this, “How are teachers expected to teach in such a chaotic and unstable environment?” And a further question, “How are responsible students able to concentrate in such chaos?”

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Over the years I have observed an appalling lack of security at the high school: eight to 10 unsecured entry points to the school, no metal detectors at the main door, no need for identification at the main door, no buzzer security system that initially stops people from entering. Metal detectors are used at football and basketball games but are totally absent from the same school during the day.

Why doesn’t a school go on lockdown when the first violent fight occurs? Why are cell phones not confiscated, which appear to lead to a feeding frenzy, once blood is in the water? Why do the School Board and district superintendent not take up these issues with thoughtful resolve and action?

I’ve heard the repeated language before from downtown administrators, “We’re all like family.” Guess what? Parents who don’t prioritize the safety of their children are not like family — this is a totally dysfunctional family. A School Board, including the administrators, who do not realize that we are living in 2018 with its fearful realities and act accordingly and responsibly are just as dysfunctional. What about banning the cellphones during the academic day? These certainly feed the hype; at the very least, they are such distractions to learning.

Perhaps some of you who are parents need to address the safety concerns for your children with administrators, the School Board, and the downtown office. If I were now a parent with a high-school child, I would be more than alarmed; I’d be making a beeline to the powers-that-be to ensure that my child was learning in a safe environment

J. Lyle Story