Armed security officers should be allowed in schools

by Ryan Hornish, Assistant to the Editorial Board

From the years 2000 to 2017, there were 153 casualties at elementary and secondary schools from active shooter incidents. These are institutions with children ranging in age from five to 18years-old and are supposedly safe places for children, yet many fear that their school could be on the wrong side of the headlines. The appropriate response to this is to bring an armed guard into school.

Required by NJ State Law 18A:41-1 schools are required to hold fire and school security drills each month. As a high school student growing up in the shadow of Columbine, these drills prepare students for outside emergencies or threats, yet they do not prepare students in the case that one of their peers could be a threat. Certainly the door locks and drills have the school better prepared than some college campuses, such as California State University of Long Beach that, on Monday, resorted to using chairs to barricade unlockable doors

Statistically, most school shooters are students from the school, which could mean a detailed understanding of the school campus, security methods, and overall schedule; this necessitates a reliability on the response time of local law enforcement.

In Glen Rock, the school provides the campus with Security Resource Officers to protect both students and staff. These officers tend to be former law enforcement and are trained for all types of situations, but in the case of an active shooter, they have only their body and courage to take down a threat prior to the arrival of appropriate law enforcement. 

Recently, the Glen Rock Board of Education voted to approve a Chief of Security position for the district, one that would require the official to be trained with firearms. At this time, there is no plan to equip the Chief of Security with a firearm, however. 

Since response time is a key aspect in reducing casualties in school shootings, a security officer carrying a firearm could save lives as well as be a deterrent to attacks. 

Opponents to having an armed guard on campus might argue that the armed guard on campus during the Parkland shooting did not engage with the perpetrator. However, this was one person who neglected his duties and is now being brought up on charges. Take it from a student living in the shadow of school shootings, an armed officer would create the feeling of a safer campus for me.