Letters: Don't let the madmen win

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The Independent Online
Sir: I recently visited three primary schools, and put my daughter's name down for the nursery at one of them. A major factor in deciding which to choose was that I could open the school gate, walk across the playground and into the school building, and ask a young boy for directions to the head teacher's office. He was able to talk to me quite confidently, and was clearly proud to be helpful. He did not run away in fright or call for a teacher.

I do not want my daughter to attend a school where there are security devices on every door, and where children do not feel as safe as if they were in their own home. I want her to be able to get out of the building on her own if necessary, even at four years old.

The two other schools both had locks fitted on all external doors, with the catches at adult eye height. This means that the younger children would not be able to escape in the event of an emergency, and those outside would not be able to reach them without breaking a window.

If we rush now to increase school security, then the madmen have won. Our children will be brought up in a culture of fear, and will never be free from it.

After Dunblane I heard parents on the radio saying their children had asked whether such a thing could happen at their school. For any child of primary age the answer has to be, "No, it will not happen to you." The risk of being wrong is far better than the cultivation of fear in every child in the country.


Luton, Bedfordshire