Loaded Questions

City Affairs: The high number of gun-related incidents at or near the Berkeley High School campus requires immediate action.

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Schools should be safe havens where all students, regardless of background or location, should feel free to express their opinion and study without fear of harm.

Unfortunately, the series of incidents at or around Berkeley High School this year have shown that school and district officials need to take significant measures to ensure such a nonthreatening climate remains.

Wednesday's lockdown is only the latest in a series of events suggesting that Berkeley High School needs to take action to make its students feel safer. The severity of the situation should not be underestimated. The discharge of a gun on campus - an incident that fortunately injured no one - is a sign that immediate action is necessary to ensure school safety.

We believe that the campus should consider all possible reactions, including the installation of metal detectors at campus entrances. While this is certainly an extreme solution, and we acknowledge the serious drawbacks of such a decision, we believe it should at least be discussed.

Other, less controversial responses that have been proposed seem obvious. The establishment of an anonymous tip line could save lives, and we don't see why it's taken so long to be considered. The ability of the principal to successfully disarm previous incidents after he received phoned warnings shows how valuable tips can be.

However, no one change will solve the problems facing Berkeley High School. District administrators and school faculty need to pursue long-term solutions, such as educational programs and community outreach. Forums and community meetings are an important element of this, and it's good that the district has been holding them.

But an adequate response must include action, and we're looking forward to seeing what the district will do with the information it gathers. Students deserve nothing less than guaranteed safety.

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