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Our Opinion: Stepped up school security is a good thing

The recent early morning attack of a Brainerd High School staff member was not only frightening but also underscored how important security is at our local schools.

To their credit, school officials responded quickly with new guidelines on how and when the high school can be accessed. We're certain that additional security measures will be implemented when warranted.

In the Feb. 11 attack, the suspect, a 20-year-old man, approached a 36-year-old woman from behind and attempted to grab and restrain her in the girls' locker room in the lower level at BHS. The woman was able to break free from the attacker and the suspect fled from the school.

Fortunately the victim only suffered minor injuries in the assault. The suspect was later arrested and now faces criminal charges.

The attack happened about 6:30 a.m. after building and grounds staff had opened the doors for the day, which was the standard practice to allow sports teams and others early access to the school.

As of Wednesday, Feb. 20, that practice has changed.

All exterior doors on both the north and south BHS campuses will be locked until 7 a.m., six entrances will then be open for a time before doors are locked once more when classes start at 8:20 a.m.

After school starts people have to request entrance using a push-button monitor box at the main entrance to get in the building. It's a protocol Brainerd School District recently adopted at other schools.

These are security precautions we applaud, and we suspect once our schools are upgraded thanks to voter approval of last year's building referendum, even more security enhancements will be implemented.

Schools are a place where we want our kids to feel safe, where we want the faculty and staff to feel safe and where we want visitors to feel safe. While there can never be a 100 percent guarantee another incident won't happen, taking even the smallest steps is moving in the right direction.

Is there such a thing as too much security? Perhaps, but we aren't at that point yet and we have trouble putting a finger on what would be too much protection. We sadly no longer live in a time when schools can be wide open to the communities they serve. A worst-case scenario, such as a school shooting, is no longer beyond the realm of possibility as we've witnessed far too often recently in this country.

If the only drawback to more security is people are inconvenienced, we'll take it. Our children's and school staff's safety isn't simply a goal, it's a necessity.

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