School snooping is not solution to violence

HONOLULU (U-Wire) — Recent developments in high school security show an increasing disregard for students’ rights in an effort to curb random acts of violence like the tragedy in Littleton, Colo.
Coweta County, a small county in Georgia, recently began to enact mandates on student backpacks, requiring students to wear bags made of mesh or transparent material.
In addition, dress codes are being considered around the country that will require students to tuck in shirts for the express purpose of preventing the concealment of weapons in the waistband.
Support for compromising personal rights for the greater goal of student safety continues to grow across the country.
While this movement is fueled by good intentions, it may prove to be more trouble than it is worth in the long run.
Such measures thrust the responsibility of security back on the taxpayers, who might find themselves forced to spend money on things like backpacks and school uniforms to comply with school standards. To do so is unfair.
It is the school’s responsibility to conduct proper security procedures; the school receives money directly from taxpayers to accomplish this goal. To throw such fiscal responsibility as the purchase of backpacks (not an inexpensive commodity) and uniforms on students and their parents undermines the concept of publicly funded schools.
In addition, such measures force students to waive their own comfort zones and personal rights to privacy. While lockers and school property should be open to view by school officials, the personal property of students should not be. The installation of metal detectors could better serve the purpose of detecting weapons without compromising privacy.
These measures are baby steps with huge footprints. Their value as violence deterrents are questionable at best. After all, there are many places to hide weapons and drugs. If a student is disturbed enough to open fire on other students, the likelihood exists that he or she is also determined enough to get around security measures. For these reasons, we should look for other means of prevention.

This staff editorial originally appeared in the University of Hawaii’s Ka Leo O Hawaii.