Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, December 15, 2012

School shootings and modular classrooms

Needless to say how bad I feel about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. 
Yesterday, we picked up our youngest girl from the High school and she told us her version of the shooting, which was explained by professors as soon as they learnt about it.
My daughter made a point about security; her school has approximately 3000 students. How to control them all? I remember the old times in our Faculty, the last months of the Junta Militar, when the police opened our bags, one by one, at the entrance. Only one entrance was open. 
Of course, this is a different case.
And sometimes the shooting is provoked by somebody who has direct access to the school, it could be anybody. It usually doesn´t happen in a compact building, the schools I´ve attended at the city of Buenos Aires, are designed with cloisters and there´s one main entrance, that´s it. A worker called ¨portero¨ is in charge to open the door, and a stranger, a parent, relative, friend, can never walk farther than the hall. Until the portero finds out if somebody is waiting for him/her. 

In extended cities in USA we have this layout of open schools. See the picture above that I´ve downloaded from The Wall Street Journal.

The kinder is isolated and, without ever being there, I can tell you that this building has multiple doors.
The next picture is from Harbor View Elementary School, in Huntington Beach. I know it very well, my daughter has attended this school.
And for one or two years, she was at the side construction, the one you see at the right. You can access these ¨modular rooms¨ from the street, from the avenue, from the park. I´ve done it myself, many times.

Teachers and student inside free standing modular rooms on campus are isolated.
I was asking my daughter about metal detectors at school and she answered, how do you think they can add them with so many doors?
I understand, a metal detector is not a final solution, shootings could happen even at the street. And we are not under military control.
Today, I´m scared and I´m wondering what the authorities will do to protect our children. Please keep in mind that it is too easy to acquire a gun in USA and something has to be done about it and -even worst- the illegal purchases of guns and similar weapons.
My condolences for the loss of so many, it´s so sad...

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