How to best protect children has been a lifelong concern for parents since the dawn of time. Yet, today, safety at schools unfortunately stands at the forefront of those fears ever since the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut occurred in December 2012. Once considered almost untouchable sanctuaries of learning, schools across the country now find themselves among an evolving world where almost nothing seems as safe as it once was.
A recent Associated Press article titled “Trained police needed for school security” purported that the debate on school security originally hinged on whether or not to have a police officer present on campus in any capacity. Now, the debate includes whether anyone (hired guard, officer or employee) should be allowed to carry weapons on school property, and whether that armed ‘guard’ must be a law enforcement official, volunteer or security guard.
Adding fuel to the debate, the National Rifle Association recently called for trained, armed volunteers to be present at every school in the nation. Regardless of which stance a person may take on any part of this issue, the simple fact remains that a person, trained or untrained, armed or unarmed, who is solely dedicated to the safety of the school grounds will do more to prevent an incident than not having one at all. If that seems like an oversimplification, it is.
The debate concerning a ‘guard’ tends to progress into an all or nothing scenario. At which point, the duty of protection may be assigned to a faculty or staff member for reasons of budget or fear of backlash. The truth is, a person with another primary function, such as a teacher or principal, cannot consistently devote the necessary attention to keep an area safe while also doing their main job satisfactorily. On the other hand, a guard who has created a working safety relationship with the people and environment he or she is protecting allows those being protected to remain calmer and focused on education, not security.
While it is unfortunate to say, today’s educational institutions must prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. It is the only way to help reduce the risk of an incident becoming yet another tragedy. Yet the simple truth remains that a guard dedicated to the security of an area remains an active deterrent to security breeches and can be used efficiently and effectively with the aforementioned options.
There is no greater ‘asset’ we can safeguard than our children’s safety. And nothing should stop us all from doing that to the absolute best of our abilities.
Source by Ray Cavanagh