The start of the school year sees many districts taking “target hardening” steps to protect students and staff from physical harm (“The False Comfort in School Security,” The New York Times, Sep. 7). Whether they make any difference is debatable. But missing from the debate is another factor that is not arguable.
I’m referring now to the threat of lawsuits. If school officials did not do everything reasonable to protect students, they would soon find themselves the subject of a lawsuit for negligence. In today’s litigious society, doctors practice defensive medicine by ordering tests that they ordinarily would not based strictly on their clinical judgment. I maintain that school officials would also be sued.
Yes, it’s expensive to implement such target hardening steps. But it’s a lot more expensive to defend oneself in a court of law. There is no way to guarantee the absolute safety of students. But I believe that courts will rule in favor of school districts if they have taken reasonable measures.
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