I support the idea of having an armed, qualified person in every school. Having said that, arming teachers in the classroom is idiotic. Having a shootout inside the classroom would cause more injuries and fatalities having the kids in a crossfire. Perhaps the principal, if as a voluntary act and after training in weapons safety could be included.
The are two major issues regarding school safety. One is after an intruder attempts to enter, and the other preventative measures. Based on the entry used in Connecticut, windows next to locked entryways are alternative entries. Access through doors during school hours should be locked at all times with office control through televised entry ways. Any window accessible from ground level should be barred. Any classroom windows should, at the bottom be at least seven feet off the surface outside. If a terrorist want to shoot kids they can do so from outside shooting through windows.
As far as armed personnel, why not use reserve officers who have passed through the same training academies as serving officers. They could be hired by the respective school districts as school employees, but qualified and supervised jointly by the Sheriff Department and the schools, jointly.
These should be in civilian clothes so that they wouldn't be first targets as they would be in uniform. I am sure the schools could use these guards in other capacities than sitting by a door all day long waiting for something that may never happen.
From a law enforcement standpoint, sending patrol cars from school to school is not an efficient way to utilize manpower. Perhaps at the high school level and depending on local circumstances, school resource officers could be assigned but probably not at the elementary level.
That we must protect our kids is a given. Overreacting isn't. Budget be damned, this must happen even at the expense of cutting other programs. I urge our Sheriff-elect, Ben Wolfinger to enter into dialog with the various school superintendents within Kootenai County with other venues doing the same.
Athletic events, musical events and other gatherings are required to hire armed security guards. Aren't our schools, the teachers and students just as important as an athletic events?
Bayviews wishes everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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