Murrysville is about a 15 minute drive from my house. It’s the scene of a stabbing rampage in a high school today. Pretty terrifying. (We don’t live in Murrysville’s district.) When Brook started school here last fall, it was at a brand new, beautiful suburban high school – with metal detectors, hand searches and wandings at each entrance. Imagine having to pass through airport security every morning. Yeah, not fun.
But it is pretty safe, no doubt about it.
It’s interesting that the suburb where I chose to live in Pittsburgh has a reputation for having a bad school district. I haven’t found this to be true. The guidance department is superb, compared with the mean and nasty guidance department I dealt with in NJ. The crime rate in my district is actually lower than in the city of Pittsburgh. I checked before I bought the house here. The problem is that the worst section of the city is adjacent to my district and the students are bussed in. Actually, bussing in is not the problem. These students have as much of a right to a decent education as anyone else. But poverty and a less than stellar local elementary school system in their part of the city has led to some educational deficiencies that require intensive remediation in the high school. The lower test scores and metal detectors in the high school make an otherwise beautiful suburb look like a dodgy place to live.
I hate to say it but the metal detectors have made a difference in the high school here. Does the recent incident in Murraysville mean the entire suburb is dangerous? No, but let’s face it, teenagers are special creatures. Their brains are undergoing radical changes and they can careen out of control in a nanosecond. Short of putting them in a state of suspended animation until they’re 21, maybe we should bring out more metal detectors in the middle and high schools. That doesn’t violate my free range philosophy very much. I still object to the silly expulsions and suspensions for playacting and bringing butter knives in packed lunches. But stopping an idea at the door and giving hot headed students a cooling off period? I think I can live with that.
It could happen anywhere. My district feels a teensy bit safer than Murrysville today.
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