Pros and Cons of Having an Armed Security Guard in Public Schools
The debate on whether to embrace security men with weapons in public institutions has become vast. It is further difficult to measure if schools were paranoid of the armed security or the threats they encountered. It is also clear that a trained security officer is supposed to be armed to execute well his duties. This has facilitated an argument if security guards should be permitted to have weapons while in school settings. This essay reveals the advantages and limitations of having armed security in schools.
Professional exhibit that while in schools, there is no need of officers to be armed by guns. This is because it increases risks in security that is witnessed in public institutions. Conversely, when the security is allowed to operate without weapons, it becomes an issue. In this context, the school is perceived to be saving its image. However, it does not protect the welfare of teachers and students. The opponents of armed security claimed that when officers carry guns, they create a hostile surrounding in schools.
On the contrary, proponents argue that schools need security guards who are armed. This will ensure that both teachers and students feel secure in their setting. In addition, these officers prevent potential criminal activities when they are armed. This implies that arming is essential to handle the increasing number of threats. Their responsibilities include inspecting visitors and protecting premises of the school. The fact that security persons are armed it does not imply that they guarantee safety in institutions.
The presence of these officers in schools has subjected plenty of youth to face charges due to criminal activities. Clearly, guards are not aware of development procedures and psychology of children. In essence, it is vital to have armed security officers who understand how to handle children in schools as they respond to criminals.
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After the horrific murders of 20 children in Connecticut, just before Christmas, the nation is engaged in an emotional and heated debate on what to do regarding gun rights and control. President Obama tasked Vice-President Biden with studying the problem and presenting suggestions by the end of this month. Politicians seeking to be seen doing something during the crisis have drafted another assault weapons ban and a standalone ban on "high capacity" magazines. NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre proposed placing armed security in schools. And, of course, the media in all its forms have pontificated on the news, bans, regulations, and the potential impact of all this on our daily lives.
Second only to the shrill debate over potential bans or a presidential executive order is the debate over placing armed security in the schools themselves.
One side derides the proposition as akin to creating a "police state" and laments that America will become an armed camp. Those who oppose providing armed security in the schools tend to favor gun bans, lists of owners, and other actions that do not actually focus attention on a potential criminal or event.
The other side of the argument wants to place the emphasis on security in and around the schools to create a truly safe environment for the children. The ideas range from using local police forces, concealed carry of weapons by staff, and local volunteers. And, while LaPierre's comments sparked outrage in some corners the truth is that the idea of armed security is very mainstream.
We provide armed security in every bank I have ever visited. We provide armed security in our airports. Armed guards escort NCAA and NFL coaches and staff on and off the field of play. You will find armed security in many retail stores, malls, shops, stores and the like. Normally these places are not the subject of mass killings.
We provide armed security to the president and his immediate family. We provide armed security to the former presidents and their families. There are supposedly 11 secret service agents guarding First Daughters Sasha and Malia Obama. If we do not object to protection for our presidents' kids the question becomes why we would object to arms in the school for the more plebian children.
School security need not be a huge burden on our communities or even the federal government. One public company, Front Sight Firearms Training, will help train school staff. A portion of a promotional email reads, "Front Sight will once again offer free firearms training to any school administrator, teachers, or full time staff members designated as school Safety Monitors. Front Sight will accept for training up to three staff members from each school, college or university. Applicants must submit a letter requesting training on school letterhead signed by the top school district official and designating the applicant as the school's Safety Monitor" (hat tip to Pundit Mike Cooper for clueing me in on this).
Other simple security solutions for our schools and public places fall into the entry-control formula used at airports. Essentially, if you don't have a connection already inside, you don't go in without further screening. Entry to schools should be handled in the parking lot, with a guided path to the office, and final vetting before allowing someone to move through the halls. If manpower permits, those visitors might even be escorted.
There are no magic bullets to the conundrum of protecting our schools and public places from violent actions by a determined person. But, proper risk management allows us to place security in the most likely avenues of approach.
It's time to get serious about protective measures in public. There is a place for an armed presence as well as prudent controls. Sasha and Malia are safe, but what about the other 92,000,000 students aged 3 to 24?