Daycare Security After the Newtown Shooting

Think about your life before the Newtown, Connecticut gun massacre of 20 first-graders and 6 Sandy Hook elementary school workers.  Did you worry much about the security of your daycare?What about after the shooting, did your thoughts and feelings change?

For me, I was first sad as hell for the tragic unimaginable loss of those little precious people, and for the families affected.  I think of them almost every day, and cry at every single story about it that comes on the radio or TV.  Then I just wanted to get to my kids ASAP and hold them forever.  Then, somewhere in my near immediate feelings and reactions, I was  - rational or not – worried about the possibility of this happening at our daycare.

We’ve been at 3 daycares since the kids were born.  The first had pretty tight security.  They had to buzz us in after seeing us on a camera.  The second, we had a code we had to enter to drop and pick up the kids.  In our current setting, you have to type in a code to get in the door.

Am I being paranoid that I don’t want to go further into the security measures of our daycare?

I had kind of decided to ignore the issue when last week, my parents asked if they had an armed guard outside of our daycare, or if they had changed any security measures.  No, and they haven’t.  Armed guards?  Here in Virginia, some elementary schools started doing that, and our governor endorsed the idea.  But – like in other cases – public policies don’t apply to private daycares like ours.  Who would pay for armed security?  Our already sky-high rates would go up.  And….  wow.  Armed security at a little community daycare?  What is the world coming to?

The day after the shooting, our daycare ran a special emergency drill.  They didn’t tell the parents anything about it, before or after.  The kids came home excited because they had a “fire drill” where they got to get on the bus.  Unusual.  I wanted to ask the teacher and directors about it…. but something prevented me from doing it.  Like, by asking, I’m opening up a situation that looks like this:

They’ll tell me about stuff I already know.  I won’t know if their training and procedures are sufficient.  I’ll feel uneasy and have concerns.  They’ll ask me what I’d like to see different.  And….  I won’t really know.  I will now be THAT parent questioning their quality with no solutions, and making a fuss – alone – about something others may also be concerned about but don’t want to talk about because they’re scared to even acknowledge the possibility.

Whew that was a long sentence.

There is no PTA for the daycare.  There is no parenting advisory board.  The directors and owners are nice and responsive, but if they wanted to change security measures wouldn’t they have done so already without a parent having to make a big deal about it?  And what am I going to ask for?  Fingerprint scans?  Armed security?

I’m scared of the possibility but unsure what to do and what my role, as a parent of a child in daycare, is.  Nobody is 100% safe anywhere.  And the risk is so very small.  Right?

Are you happy with your daycare’s security?  Have you done anything to help increase security at your daycare?

Photo via bradleygee on Flickr

About the author

Mary Beth is married and works full-time in the public health arena. She has a daughter born in 2008 and a son born in 2010. She's only recently feeling settled as a sane(ish!) family with a nice(ish!) routine. She blogs at blooMBing and tweets as @blooMBing.

3 Comments

  1. HeatherK says:

    My son’s daycare has CRAZY security. Before Newtown, I honestly thought it was a bit much, but now I am grateful. Our school is a brand new build (it is 1.5 years old), and it has tinted, bullet-proof glass on all windows and doors. You walk into a foyer, and then need a special access code to get into the main building. We have to change our codes every 3 months. The whole building (except bathrooms) is monitored by security cameras, which we have internet access to with a special account. Since Newtown we also have a police patrolman on duty in the parking lot one a week on a random day. It is pretty nice. However, I don’t know if my son is any safer there than my daughter is at the home daycare she attends with zero security and one 50 year old woman watching 4 kids! I try not to think about it too much : )

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  2. Our daycare put in new fences and gates, with a code pad. Honestly? I think it’s overkill. Newtown was a horrible tragedy. But it was a very rare event. And someone who’s really determined to do something horrible is not going to be deterred by a higher fence.

    I have never once wondered if my daughter was safe at her day care. That was true before the fence and gate. I don’t think they’ve added much beyond anxiety.
    Tragic Sandwich recently posted..Bragging About MeMy Profile
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  3. HeyBeckyJ says:

    Access to our daycare is controlled by scanned ID badges, the first floor windows all have colored panels across them that obscures all vision (the panels are designed to look like water and fish!), and there is someone at the front desk at all times. I am happy with the security (both before and after Newtown). I believe that if someone is determined to do harm, they will find a way. But I also firmly believe that most people are good, and that is the outlook that I want to pass on to my children. I don’t want them to become hardened by society. I try to take basic, common sense precautions, and avoid getting hung-up on the very small possibility of danger.
    HeyBeckyJ recently posted..Meal Plan Monday – 3/3 thru 3/9My Profile

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