Our schools should always be a safe place.

We will always live in a post-Columbine world and must face the reality that, as the result, schools have changed forever.

School resource officers, fenced campuses, security cameras and locked doors are permanent fixtures, and should be.

While sometimes there may be a fear that we have turned schools into fortresses, there is no alternative.

School lockdowns may seem to happen too frequently, sometimes when the threat does not seem imminent, but erring on the side of caution is an inconvenience everyone should be willing to accept.

Active shooter scenarios with mock training exercises may be dramatic, but are also necessary.

We send our sons and daughters to school every day.

We should be able to have the peace of mind that while they are there, they are safe and sound.

Extra precautions at local schools Friday seemed to be the right thing to do.

While there were no specific threats, the extraordinary events of a city-wide rally and demonstrations was enough to give school officials a reason for concern.

We share the frustrations of Valdosta State University students who said their test preparations and classroom studies were interrupted by the cancellation of classes Friday.

In fact, in many ways the lives have been interrupted because of a handful of protesters and counter protesters along with thousands of demonstrators who do not even go to school there.

Parents were concerned about the safety of their college-aged children.

Some students left campus for the weekend because of their concerns.

More than likely none of the demonstrators intended to disrupt the education of these young people, but they did.

The impact of protests, counter protests, demonstrations and the rally on the college has been unfortunate.

Even more unfortunate this week was the news coming out of Lowndes High School that a teacher was charged with having inappropriate relations with male students.

Parents should be able to send their children to school thinking they will not only be safe from intruders, but to know they will be treated with respect, dignity and not be violated emotionally, physically or sexually.

It does not matter how old the young men were who said they had inappropriate relations with a female teacher.

There is no excuse for a teacher to cross that line, ever.

It seems the school and law enforcement officials were decisive in the response to these allegations and the teacher is no longer employed by the school system.

We believe, however, that this incident should be a spring board for strong discussions and a continued dialogue in our school systems.

Teacher-student relationships should not just be a part of a written policy, but should be the subject of in-service training, counseling and regular monitoring.

The charges last week garnered a lot of attention because it happened to involve a female teacher and male students.

It should be treated and regarded no differently than inappropriate behavior by male teachers.

Anyone who thinks for a second it is more acceptable for a male teacher and an 18-year-old female student is wrong.

Whether a male teacher or a female teacher, the behavior is an abuse of power, highly illegal and totally unacceptable.

Teachers even giving the appearance of being flirtatious with students should not be tolerated.

We are pleased with the decisive action of the county school system and the authorities, and encourage even greater vigilance as they keep our schools a safe place for students every day.

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