Let Me Sum Up
Is DISD's sudden attack of reasonableness chronic? Plus: Karl Rove is a liar!
Sometimes in this space — oftentimes, I hope — the point is to rail against stupidity, to decry some crippling lack of logic in the ongoing conversation about the city. Today, however, I’m just here to praise.
Carefully read Matthew Haag’s story about the proposed security improvements for DISD schools. There are several heartening takeaways to be savored. Given that we usually linger for weeks on bad news out of DISD, why don’t you go ahead and read it twice.
I just want a few things to sink in. First, notice the proposal itself. It is not just reasonable, as noted in this excellent summation by Mike Hashimoto — it is so reasonable as to be brilliantly so. It is, in fact, miraculous in its reasonableness. When you exist in an institution and a political climate conditioned to react to reason as antibodies to a virus, such a strong and sustained sign of reason suggests an avian flu-like outbreak in the halls of DISD.
The proposal doesn’t suggest arming teachers. (In fact, the DISD police chief rightly suggests that arming those who aren’t properly trained does more harm than good). It doesn’t suggest creating impenetrable gulags where students learn to exist only in fear.
It calls for these highlighted items: motion-detecting video camera systems at 150 elementary schools; locking front doors with a buzzer/camera entry system; electronic card readers at employee-only entrances; one-way peepholes in portable buildings. (This of course would supplement the police officers already on most high school and middle school campuses.)
This is just sensible, affordable policy. It is, as a DISDer noted to me, bringing the district in line with what most other corporations do in terms of security. Heck, it’s not much more than many libraries do.
Second, notice the care with which this report was composed. The process was not rushed. A large contingent surveyed every school in DISD. The district’s police chief, Craig Miller, noted that many of the schools provide unique challenges simply because of their age.
This squares with my experience. When my daughter went to Stonewall Jackson Elementary, I lived across the street, and so I would sometimes just run inside to drop off something she’d left behind. I could only get in the front door, and the principal’s office was right in front, so I was always immediately confronted and told to sign in.
At Booker T. Washington downtown, the new building has a guard and metal detectors at the front doors, but it was easy to get in the back door to the parking lot and wander the halls to find her when I needed to find her, and I was never questioned.
Third, note how little drama there has been in the public examination of this document. No leaks. No silly missteps by Mike Miles. (His careful statement to the paper may seem lukewarm, but don’t let that fool you — he’s just being careful not to get ahead of the school board before they debate the proposal’s merits this week.)
In fact, ever since Jennifer Sprague left, Miles has been making every right move imaginable. Hmmm. Wonder who’s giving him communications advice these days?
No matter the reason, it’s good to see the district do something smart. This plan deserves community support. Here’s hoping heretofore rarely seen condition of reasonableness becomes a chronic affliction.
Good columnar week for the Floyd-Hashimoto household. JFloyd’s column today on the Chris Kyle funeral is spot-on.
And Steve Blow has been on a rush too. He’s had a string of solid columns, the latest of which is this (late, but) correct take on the Larry McMurtry blather in TexMo this month.
Karl Rove is a liar. Huh. Didn’t see that coming.
Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith will be on hand with Mayor Mike to announce a downtown rally against domestic violence. I’m sure Smith will be available for interviews afterward, and for most of the next few weeks and months, regarding this issue. Because he’s lending his name to the effort, so why wouldn’t he be? So please, media, approach him, ask to speak with him at a later date. I'm sure he's not too busy.
Hey, let’s all fly with our middle fingers extended toward the heavens! Tempting fate is fun!
It's been 4 years since last crash of US commercial jet; 2012 was safest year for air travel since 1945. nyti.ms/WXWZOw— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) February 12, 2013