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The vast majority of schools have entrances similar to what Sandy Hook Elementary School has. Many schools have electronically locking doors with glass in or around the door.

I am confident that once the Presidential Commission on School Safety is created and suggestions for significant change are formulated, we will see mandates for school systems across the country. Many school systems, including St. Maryís County, need to build new schools for an expanding population. I am hopeful that any new school built from this date forward will keep in mind what happened at Sandy Hook. I suspect each state, including Maryland will examine what can be done to increase safety at our schools.

A locking door with glass in or around the door will only stop people who donít intend to harm anyone. Every school must be prepared for the lunatics that intend to kill children. Bulletproof glass has a significant cost. I suspect schools will be forced to install smaller glass panes. This will have to be small enough that people will not be able to enter through it and large enough to still allow light to enter in the school.

This will require a significant change to the design of schools across the country. Any change will likely increase the cost for each school. Future schools may have more solar light coming in through the roof instead of through glass on the ground level. A compromise may have to include a combination of both.

There are many different design concepts that can be considered. Natural lighting is important in a school. A dark school reduces learning and increases depression to children. It also increases heating costs. Some things that may be suggested for future schools are likely to be safe rooms within the school. Each school may be equipped with panic alarms at various confidential locations within the school.

There is a fine balance between making a school a fortress and still appear to be open. But, the bottom line is that schools will have to significantly increase the safety at the entrance points to every school. As it stands now, I am not familiar with any Southern Maryland school that meets these criteria.

Roy Fedders, Dameron