By Sylvia Gurinsky
The tragic stabbing death of Coral Gables High School student Juan Carlos Rivera on Tuesday and its aftermath pointed to two safety needs.
It is true, as FIU associate professor Philip J. Lazarus said, that more "mental detectors" are needed than metal detectors for students such as Andy Rodriguez, currently charged with second-degree murder in Rivera's killing.
But an extra camera or two in the courtyard where Rivera was killed might have compelled someone to spot trouble before the tragedy occurred.
Afterward, a better communication system between Miami-Dade Public Schools and parents might have avoided a lot of mixed signals and anxiety. Parents and guardians who communicated by cellphone and/or text with students came to the locked-down high school, demanding that they be allowed to take their children home when news reports were saying the suspect was in custody. A number came with food when some students said they hadn't eaten lunch yet.
A better system for cellphone and text message communication with parents and guardians by the school district is needed - something similar to the system Virginia Tech University put in place after a gunman killed 32 people there before turning a weapon on himself. In this age of 21st-century technology, television press conferences are no longer good enough.
More cameras may have to wait for an improved economy. But the school district could certainly look into inexpensive text and cellphone communication methods. In multiple ways, safety depends on it.