Discovery of handgun at Selma High rattles confidence

Published 4:28 pm Saturday, December 22, 2012

Someone asked us Friday, if the horrific massacre in Newtown, Conn. had not happened more than a week ago, would we have provided such extensive — or in their words “overblown” — coverage of the Selma High School lockdown after a gun was discovered.

Sadly, I had to admit to myself, the answer was no. We wouldn’t have.

And, for that, I was saddened.

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Before those lives in Connecticut — 20 of them children — were taken, the discovery of a handgun on a school campus, even here in Dallas County, wasn’t the type of event that was overwhelming news.

But, today, that has changed as has so much in our day-to-day lives.

That senseless act of violence on Friday, Dec. 14, not only changed the lives of those families who lost a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend, but it also rattled and changed the lives of most of America. How could it not?

Today, we are a country more focused on ever on the state of security in our schools. Today, we are having discussions — and debates — on whether arming teachers and student staff is a way to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again.

Today, we can’t help but see children — those close to the age of the 20 students killed last week — and think that it could have just as easily been our children, our students.

That is why Thursday’s discovery of a loaded, chrome-plated handgun on Selma High is so troubling.

But what is making the situation worse is that no one can provide an answer as to how this handgun was able to make its way on to the campus when such security measures are designed to prevent a thing from happening.

The new Selma High School is a $30 million state-of-the-art facility that was designed with improved security measures. Where did they go wrong?

The students arrive on campus and are supposedly allowed through just one entrance and each is supposed to be wanded with a metal detector. Where did that go wrong?

Just this week, the principals from each of the schools in the Selma City School System were called to a meeting to discuss security protocols and ways to improve security if needed. We were at that meeting. Were we the only ones paying attention or taking notes?

And, supposedly one of the two juveniles detained for possessing the gun pointed it at another student hours before a teacher spotted the gun in a backpack and notified school leadership. Where was that leadership hours earlier and why did that student not have some way of reporting such an incident earlier?

We are now three days removed from the discovery of the handgun on Selma High School’s campus and the questions far outweigh the answers. We are now three days removed from the discovery and the parents of the children who attend Selma High School deserve far more, far better.

It is our hope the Selma City School Board is able to arrange a meeting next week and begin to publicly discuss what happened and publicly hunt for answers.

We readily admit the coverage of Thursday’s discovery would have been different — and less significant — if it had happened before those victims in Newtown, Conn. were murdered.

But we can also admit that our lives are changed and that our search for answers will be aggressive and thorough, we just hope we aren’t the only ones looking for and expecting answers.