With nerves on edge in the wake of of last week's horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn., schools across the country have been reviewing and enhancing their security policies.
But not everyone agrees that these new measures are necessary. One mother wrote a thoughtful message in protest of increased security measures at her daughter's daycare, and shared it with Lenore Skenazy of Free Range kids.
The writer says she was responding to an email from her child's daycare that read in part: "Please understand that in an effort to safeguard our children, no adult (parent or staff member) will hold the door for others. Each person must either use their access code or ring the bell to be admitted by a member of our staff."
Read the full letter here, and visit Free Range Kids for more information.
To the Director, Assistant Director and all the staff:
I am deeply saddened to see this letter. While safety is important, this reaction (to a highly unlikely threat) does more harm than good. It works against the educational goals at the center. Our greatest safety, comfort, resilience and foundation for growth come from community -- community built and strengthened by our knowledge of one another, and our consistent willingness to care for and help one another. Community is one of the main things I have loved about sending my daughter to your center.
Minor as the act of holding a door open for a parent right behind you (especially one with a baby in an infant carrier) may seem, it is a moment to care or be cared for. It eases the hassles of parenthood and makes us feel welcome and connected. Sometimes it starts us talking. At the very least it gets us to take a good look at one another, allowing us to recognize which parents belong with which children. It sets us up to be an extra set of eyes to protect those children.
To ask me to slam the door in the face of a parent I recognize breaks down that community. And to what end? The shooter at Sandy Hook faced a similar security system. He was not let in, he shot his way in. Moreover, even when protecting military secrets I am not asked to shut the door on someone I know belongs in there. I don’t believe [my daughter] knows about Sandy Hook. But she will notice when doors start slamming in our face. I don’t want her to build a distrust for familiar people, the very people she would do well to seek in an emergency.
Of course the door isn’t the only place people connect. I get a sense of community when a teacher stops me on my way to the classroom to tell me what [my daughter] did on the playground. It lets me know that even the teachers working upstairs know I am her mother. But now these instructions say these same teachers should close the door on me, on my daughter, and on other parents. Why?
I am all too aware that life is fragile and has no guarantee. So, more than I want maximum security, I want my daughter to have community, connection, love, and joy all her life. –Hawa