It flows downward, doesn’t it? When I worked in a corporate world, we often spouted a saying about what flowed down and nowhere does it seem to be more true than in education.

Image result for flows down
Nope, but it’s a pretty image.

In reaction to the Parkland tragedy, almost one year ago, the Florida legislature rushed into the statutes a law that specified, among other things, that classrooms mark off hard corners.

A hard corner is the space in a classroom that cannot be seen from the hallway door window. The Parkland shooter never entered a room, but as he was able to see through the windows into the rooms, he was able to shoot through the glass to visible targets (people).

If only they had known to crowd into a space in the classroom that could not be seen, and if not seen, then it could not be directly targeted from the hallway.

Every time this topic arises, people say, but what about the outside windows?

That’s a good point. Hard corners out of range from an interior door window are almost always exposed to exterior windows. Presumably, though, those windows are locked and the blinds are drawn (can’t have student attention wandering away and looking outside), therefore a shooter wouldn’t fire through the window anyway.

Hard corners are a response, a reaction, to one incident of a school massacre. A review of what happened revealed that the shooter walked the hallways and shot into rooms when he could see people inside. When there is no time to cover the window, squeezing into a hard corner seems to be the best way to hide.

There is no way to bullet-proof a classroom unless we want to rebuild our schools as prisons: no windows or narrow slits of glass eight feet high; steel doors; razor-wire fencing on the perimeter; controlled access 24/7.

GOT isn’t all that fussed about marking hard corners. It cannot hurt. Thursday, he put blue masking tape on the floor as directed even as he wondered how long painter’s tape, designed for placement upon a surface only for as long as the painter needs to apply a coat quickly–usually it’s removed within hours, will last upon a grimy floor that is only swept, never mopped, during the school year. We are 2.5 quarters through the school year. The next cleaning will take place in the summer.

GOT really doesn’t have a hard corner. The design of the room limits the number of persons who could squeeze into that space. At best a dozen, maybe only ten.

But the point of this post is that the responsibility for marking the hard corner was put upon the teacher. Always, the undesirable tasks like the unmentionable substance in the saying flow down to the lowest person in the hierarchy.

We have a large school system full of security experts. We have a school police department. We could scrape together the money to hire an outside expert. But no, this undesirable job that no one wants to do is sent to the principals, who promptly pass it down to teachers.

GOT wants to know: if something happens at my school, if a tragedy occurs, and it turns out my hard corner wasn’t so hard after all, will my employer hold me harmless? Will they defend me against the inevitable lawsuits? Or will they simply say, “We didn’t do it.” Will they hang their teachers out to dry in the wind?

Do I have a hard corner to hide in?

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