Piccadilly Pulse: Should schools have ‘airport-style’ security following tragic teacher stabbing?

The killing of 61-year-old teacher Ann Maguire earlier this week shocked the country after she was stabbed to death in front of her class in Leeds.

The stabbing at Corpus Christi Catholic College has shocked people not only in the UK but around the world, with tributes from leading figures such David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the Pope.

The incident has led to a huge amount of speculation about the need to increase security in schools to prevent such a horrific incident from occurring again with airport-style checks to playground patrols.

Here at MM, we took to the streets of Manchester to ask the question:

‘Should metal detectors be introduced in schools to make them safer?

Yes: 58%

No: 42%

This contentious issue divided Mancunians, with just over half believing metal detectors would be in the best interest of pupils and teachers and should be put in schools.

Some believed the government must take immediate action and come down hard on the problem of knives and weapons in schools.

Fiona Pearson, a 56-year-old housewife, believed the introduction of searches is a necessary action that must be taken.

“You’ve got to test everyone to catch the few. It’s not just the staff I’m worried about – it’s the other kids too,” she said.

Dave Raynes, 40, from Manchester, held very strong views on the matter.

“Make it very strict like at an airport,” he said.

“I want them all to be searched and very harshly disciplined if caught. I want them to go to prison for ten years.”

David Blair, 45, from Bolton, said: “This is a great idea and one that is long overdue.”

Joshua Nixon, 87, a retired gardener, believes it is fully justifiable to introduce searches.

“If it means people are going to be safe then I think we should have them,” he said.

However, some believed the introduction of detectors would be a step too far, despite the terrible tragedy.

Ian, 48, from Northampton, thought parents should take more care over how they raise their children.

“You shouldn’t turn schools into a fortress. I throw it back to the parents – they should be responsible for their kids,” he said.

Michael Carson, 24, believes that you should not punish everyone because of one incident.

“You sort of criminalise everyone because of the few,” he explained.

“You don’t want to jump to conclusions. Also, can schools afford it?”

Many people expressed their horror at this week’s news, which is the first time a teacher has been killed in a British classroom since the 1996 Dunblane massacre.

Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children, their teacher and then turned the gun on himself during the killing-spree.

The fact that almost 20 years separates the two incidents means that, in some people’s eyes, you cannot foresee or prevent tragedies such as this one.

“These things are so isolated, you can’t legislate against that,” said John Drew, 68 from Manchester.

“I can think of one (attack) in this city about 20 years ago – there have been maybe three incidents in 25 years.”

The murder of Ann Maguire was witnessed by her pupils in what David Cameron called ‘a truly shocking and appalling tragedy’.

Hundreds of flowers have been laid outside the school to commemorate a person that, in her family’s words, was ‘a shining light’ and ‘a loving wife, the best mother, a treasured sister [and] a true friend’.

Helen O’Hara, 56, from Wigan, believes something will eventually happen to tighten up security of schools.

 “Unfortunately I think this is something that will happen because of the horrible death of the Leeds teacher,” she said.

Andrew Goodwin, 27, a Manchester builder said: “I know this was a tragic incident but I think this would be a knee jerk reaction.”

Liam McDonald, 22, from Manchester, does not think they should be brought in for practical reasons.

“No, they shouldn’t be brought into school as it is an invasion of privacy and not really a feasible solution in terms of money and time.”

Image courtesy of Daniel Lobo, with thanks

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