(May 22, 2024)
Solon Bill Nelson
attacks school shootings head-on:
He throws ‘shrinks’ at ’em!
Man would throw matches at fire –
call it ‘brilliant strategy!’
- (The rush to “safe” our schools – both nationwide and here in Central Florida, especially in Sanford and Seminole County – so far has generated a lot of talk both from the audience and the people up on the dias – and by my lights not much else. “Harden the Schools” is a wonderful slogan. Some kids might say: does that mean more tough classes? Some wags might suggest it means Keep Talking. Maybe “It” Will Go Away.” Take Sanford Middle School. Please: it has about eight feet of clearance from a sidewalk and its adjacent road along one entire length of the school – bus take-up and let-off, power plant and classrooms all in a row, the classrooms with two double-doored entry points screaming for “bollards” to discourage drive-through car (or pickup truck bombers) and a second open-access area for staff, administrator and teacher parking as well as for student-drop-off from mommie-and-daddy privileged-and-entitled cars, SUVs and pickups. How do you limit access? Egress? We haven’t even discussed the back-side of the lengthwise laid-out school where it abuts a shopping plaza with naught but a chain link fence as a barrier. “Harden” this sight? Not on your taxpaying life! Better to move the school to West of Airport Boulevard – say about the same meridian as Crooms Academy off 13th Street. In the meantime build a “walkover” for parent-parking and student dropoff and pickup across the street at the big field at 18th and French Avenue…which will have further application after we get the school moved elsewhere and built-hardened. That area across the street, the former high school football and baseball athletic fields across from the middle school owned by the school district…both of which sites are far more valuable for commercial/industrial development than an indefensible school and a hurricane debris dump-site-in-waiting smack dab in the middle of Sanford’s major North-South four-lane highway, currently ready to start a “facelift” operation. Why spend money to pretty-fie the also-named French Avenue (US-17-92) when a “higher use” as one PhD urban-rural planner I know long has campaigned will be better off as a six-laned access road to Lake Monroe, SR-46 and both Seminole Town Center mall and plazas and Interstate 4, not to mention the quaint and historic and booming Downtown? I have a theory why not. Someone’s cousin has the concession for median strip plantings. Tell the kids that when the last schools in Seminole County to get “hardened” are in Sanford.)