Originally Posted by MaryO
And if they accidently shoot an unarmed civilian in the building or worse, a child, it doesn't work. Arming school personnel is NOT the answer. Putting things such as School Resource Officers full time in our school is a step in the right direction. I know, I was one for 4 years in a primary and elementary school. I was there every day, armed, with the children. It's a great program for many reasons. I was specifically trained in how to react to an intruder, the PROPER use of firearms and building search techniques and many other things. We also ran intruder drills and lock down drills so that school personnel and students would be somewhat prepared (as prepared as you can be in these situations).
It also teaches children, especially the young ones to trust and befriend officers. Something that is so often overlooked these days.
The other major point against arming teachers and school administration for me is this...when an incident happens, especially again in the younger schools, we need those teachers with their students who know and trust them. Those teachers already have their hands more than full keeping students calm and orderly and getting them to safety as quickly as possible. That is more important than having them out running down the halls. The children need the calming effect of a teacher they know and who knows them. Again, I know how important this is...I've seen it firsthand.
There are so many other factors as well....accidental shootings of innocent people, where do you keep guns when at school so the children don't have access, etc.
In the end, we all have to accept that there are NO perfect solutions to this problem. If an intruder wants in...he will get in. The best we can hope for is to keep casualties to a minimum. I always told my teachers that it was my job as the SRO to draw him away from students and focus on me if possible while help arrives. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, what we need to avoid is any type of rush to a decision and any type of vigilante attitude about arming all with guns.
It's a difficult and complex problem, I agree, but there are things that we can do to help. I hope solutions are studied that cover all angles, protection of the school and our students, mental health issues and more.
Arming school personnel isn't "the" answer - no one single thing is - but it's part of it. A secured defensive firearm in strategic location means teachers wouldn't necessarily be defenseless when a maniac coward visits the school. The firearm's location and presence should only be known to properly trained staff and there should be a strict protocol stating who may access it and under what conditions.
I understand what you are saying about the teachers needing keep children calm and orderly in a shooting crisis, but if that means the teacher and children are just calmly headed to slaughter, then that's no help at all. Yes, I understand the risk of accidental shootings. On balance, I think student safety is better served accepting the risk of an accident shooting by trained personnel, than by submitting to the mercy of a homocidal maniac.
Giving teachers the means to defend their schools is one component of what we need to be doing. SROs are nice but you can't have them in every school all the time, certainly not at a kindergarten. They're police, not armed guards.