School officials have a tough task at hand these days: ensuring our children's safety.
With the fatal school shootings in Newtown, Ct., over a month ago, the news of that bloodshed is still on the minds of most parents.
And any incidents at a school these days can send parents into a frenzy.
After all, we want our children out of harm's way.
The recent bomb scare at Easton Area Middle School early last week is a perfect example.
School officials, as the middle school principal told the Easton Area School Board at a meeting last week, followed procedures by the book.
But that book did not have the happy ending that parents were seeking.
Students were evacuated. They were put on buses and those buses were delayed from leaving for 20 minutes before everything checked out.
The district issued an alert letting parents know an incident took place and that the children would be late getting home that day.
So far, so good.
But parents have complained that the notice should have been sent out much earlier, that they had no idea where their children were and whether they were safe.
And that worry rang alarm bells for them.
Most parents are also alarmed about school safety measures at schools in the wake of the Newtown, Ct., shootings.
That's why it was comforting -- and maybe also alarming -- to know that Easton Area High School and Middle School both have armed guards at the schools.
So what's a school district to do? What can a school board tell parents to ease their minds?
That's where the task becomes difficult and the decisions even more.
Do we want armed guards at all our schools? Do we want them to resemble security at airports? Should metal dectectors be placed in the front of every building?
The Easton Area School District is going to examine these measures. They're also going to meet with the three police chiefs in Forks and Palmer townships and Easton this week to go over school safety procedures.
Again, all of the right things to do.
Now imagine, though, if the school district sent out an immediate alert. One police chief told me this week that such a scenario would have been a madhouse for authorities to handle, with a thousand parents rushing to a school to seek the well-being of their children.
Such a scene really could have sparked a frenzy.
Basically, we can turn our schools into fortresses. But at what cost?
Schools have always been nurturing environments where children can go to learn as we parents go off to work, knowing that our sons and daughters are in good hands.
So some big decisions will be coming down the road. And some important questions will be asked.
But at what cost will school safety be ensured?
It's a tough call for anyone to make.