How are we preparing our children for the rigors of the real world? Apparently by scaring the crap out of them.
The other day, three schools in the Colonie area were put in emergency "lock-out" after a driver being pulled over for weaving and speeding drove off as a police officer appoached his car.
A lockout means no one goes in or out of the school building until the perceived threat is gone.
We realize that all the news of school shootings has put us on high alert to the potential dangers to our children.
But what are we teaching our kids when we fortify three elementary schools after some guy that police don't even think is dangerous takes off from a routine traffic stop? They had a description of the driver. So what purpose did it serve to quarantine visitors and lock out parents and tardy school kids?
We're not blaming police or school officials for how they responded in this case. They took the "better safe than sorry” approach.
But by scaring our children into thinking that every person is a threat, we're teaching them that no one should be trusted and that every unfamiliar situation requires the highest response. In the process, we're losing the ability to handle unfamiliar situations in a way that's appropriate to the circumstances.
Schools should take reasonable precautions to protect students. And police should alert schools of suspicious individuals.
But they don't have to go into full freak-out mode every time someone does something like run from a traffic stop.
In the long run, it's not healthy for our children, or our society.