close ad

Police Academy: Are School Security Measures Going Too Far?

Drugs. Guns. Sexual assault. Chances are, you've read these words in a recent headline that ends with " local school." As a result, heightened security measures are becoming increasingly common. Some 60% of public high schools use surveillance cameras and drug-sniffing dogs, and many places conduct random locker checks.
Looking at Safety Measures

For the most part, parents seem to welcome these strategies. A national CNN poll in 2002 found that 70% of parents think random drug testing is a good idea. But others are so opposed they've actually fought to stop it. The tension between those who want tougher measures and those who fear that Big Brother is trampling over kids' rights extends far beyond PTA meetings. Recently the safety issue reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided that a school's right to come down on drug culture trumped a student's right to wave his pro-drug banner. But it was hardly a slam dunk: The court vote was split five to four.

As in all good debates, there's enough evidence on both sides to give the spin-doctors plenty to play with. But there are no cookie-cutter answers. What's right for one school might be wrong for another, depending on budgets and specific challenges. Family Circle took a closer look at three of the most controversial safety measures now on school-board agendas around the country.