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Does Increased School Security Measures Violate Students’ Rights


Does increased school security measure violate students’ rights? With the rapidly increasing rate of crime, is it not better to increase the security protocol within a school? Well, I advice you read on to find the answers you seek.

It is no longer news that the global rates of violence is on the increase, and that places like schools are no longer as safe and secure as they used to be. Following the December 20, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the bombing of churches in Nigerian universities and the slaughter of young high school students in northern Nigeria by the Islamic sect called Boko Haram, the ever increasing rise in gangster violence and cult related violence; there has been a call for increased security measures in schools. But till date, the debate is still hot over whether increased security measures in schools are necessary or are violations of students’ rights.

Why Increased School Security Measure is a Welcomed Development

Personally, I would have loved to maintain a balanced view (I know this isn’t possible) because this matter is a clash of two major interests: security in schools versus upholding students’ rights.

But because I am human, I won’t be able to maintain partiality in my view. And my stand over this matter will become obvious in a few minutes. Now, let’s consider this: Nothing could be as precious as life itself. Even though freedom, privacy, and other rights are important as well, they do not make an equal match with life.

So, I believe that schools need to increase security measures in order to protect the lives of students and teachers. However, there are ways by which such measures can be checked or regulated so that they won’t go too far in depriving students of their rights. With the following points, I will explain my view and give recommendations on how the rights of students can be protected whilst they are still given maximum security:

How to Increase School Security Measures without Violating Students’ Rights

1.      Some analysts who opine that increased security violates students’ rights believe that students feel less safe with the introduction of armed security guards or surveillance systems. Though I see sense in their argument, I don’t agree with it. I would rather recommend that school security guards should not wear uniforms and that they should not wield firearms unless the situation calls for this. (Of course, I know students would fret at the sight of a security guard carrying a firearm.)

2.       I also agree that routinely strip-checking students and inspecting their bags for dangerous weapons could be intrusive, but I believe priority should be given to safety of lives. So, such checks should be done.

3.       Hiring armed security guards in schools will help to prevent future incidents of shooting, mass attacks, and so on in schools. It will also reduce bullying and fighting among students.

4.        Another suggestion raised by those who defend student rights is that school authorities, teachers, parents, and the government should all consider it as their collective responsibility to ensure security in schools. Agreed, but I insist that increasing security measures in schools is the most effective way of protecting the lives of students and teachers.

5.       Introducing new security measures in schools and making students aware of them will help deter students from misbehaving – in my humble opinion. In addition, I see no reason why this is regarded as violation of students’ rights. Schools are meant for learning, and school authorities have the right to introduce measures that will help students become better individuals.

How to Increase School Security Measures without Violating Students’ Rights

6.      Students should be taught and supervised and as such should not be allowed absolute freedom and privacy, because they tend to abuse these rights. In fact, the current global increase in the rates of shooting, bullying, and violence in schools is due to these rights not being checked adequately.

7.      If we are to hold that increasing security measures is a violation of students’ freedom and privacy, then we should agree as well that education itself is a violation of these rights. Of course, students are obliged to remain in school even when they feel like staying at home or being somewhere else. (So, is this not a violation of their freedom?)

8.       The issue of cost is another reason why some analysts are against the idea of increasing security measures in schools. They believe hiring security guards and installing security devices would gulp billions of dollars. As for me, I believe no amount is too much, provided spending such an amount would guarantee safety and security of multiple lives. If it were possible for the 26 casualties of the December 2012 shooting (at Sandy Hoot Elementary School) to be brought back to life for billions of dollars, the government wouldn’t hesitate to produce the money. So, what are we talking about?

Lastly, even though some analysts say that increasing security measures in schools play no role in reducing misbehavior and criminal activity among students, there is no sound evidence for this. Rather, what is intuitive is that having better security at schools would stop or at least reduce shootings, violence, and other life-threatening situations.

In conclusion, as I stated earlier, I strongly believe that the safety of lives is of paramount importance. Why should we, in the name of upholding freedom, privacy, and other rights, expose our lives to risk? I stand to be questioned.

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