How does the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) count to ten? One, three, four, five…. Affirming the civil rights organization’s traditional antipathy towards Americans’ civil right to keep and bear arms, the Pennsylvania chapter’s senior policy advocate penned an editorial for post-gazette.com arguing that Pittsburgh’s school resource officers should remain disarmed.
Mr. Harold Jordan’s polemic goes a little something like this . . .
There is no evidence that arming school officers increases overall safety or improves relationships within school communities. Having an armed officer stationed in schools has neither prevented nor stopped “active shooter” incidents. It did not at Columbine High School nor has it elsewhere. Thankfully, these tragic situations are still rare in schools.
How school-based police interact with students and the tools they carry and sometimes use have been the source of controversies. Incidents involving the use of even less lethal police tools, such as Tasers and pepper spray, have resulted in complaints, lawsuits, and injuries to students. These have been on the rise in recent years.
Citation? While we wait for that not to happen, it should be noted that an armed cops’ spectacular failure at Columbine doesn’t obviate examples where armed SRO’s did indeed stop a school shooter. And here. And here. And here.
So not only can’t the ACLU count to ten, they’re incapable of Google searching “School resource officer stops_”. But they are certainly capable of ignoring obvious lessons from past tragedies.
Unarmed school staff does not mean that schools are defenseless in emergency situations. School districts have arrangements, formal or informal, with local law enforcement in which outside assistance is provided when needed in emergencies, such as when there is a bomb threat or serious injury.
Two words: Sandy Hook. The school was unarmed and defenseless. The local police entered the school 10 minutes after the shooting began. The murderer killed 26 people in that time.
Regular readers will know that I believe armed SRO’s are a good idea, but not the best idea for defending schools from criminals, crazies and terrorists. What’s more, our school shooter simulation proved that an attacker can quite easily take out an SRO, even when the SRO knows one (never mind two) bad guys are coming.
The best idea: repeal Bush the Elder’s Gun Free School Zones Act and restore Americans’ natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms on school grounds.
“Allow” — in fact encourage — parents, teachers, administrators and staff [who are willing to do so] to carry on campus. That way the shooter(s) wouldn’t know who was armed. The money saved by not deploying armed RSO’s would more than pay for active shooter training.
Forward-thinking districts are reconsidering the kinds of support staff that work in schools, not whether they should be armed.
I don’t think the words “forward-thinking” means what Mr. Jordan thinks it means. Not even close.