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3 Reasons To NOT arm schools

by Mawi on January 3, 2013

Like all of you, I was horrified by the shooting last month in Newtown, CN.

My four year old son does his pre-school at a local elementary school, and I’m asking the same question that all parents are asking: How do we keep our children safe?

Today, in my local paper, I read that some parents are asking the district to provide security guards in all schools.  Across our country, many voices are calling for principals and teachers to be armed.

Here are three reasons that armed security may not be the best thing for our students:

1) We have no proof that more security works. For example, there was a security guard at Columbine.  And Newtown had actually invested heavily in security training and protocols - Newtown was probably in the top 10% of elementary schools when it comes to safety readiness.  Maybe instead of investing scare resources in security, we would save more kids by focusing on something less sensational, such as better protection for kids with allergies.

2) It’s almost impossible to stop someone who is willing to sacrifice their own life. Even our fully-trained soldiers fighting abroad, with all sorts of incredible equipment, find it hard to stop a “suicide bomber” who is willing to sacrifice their life. The reality is that if someone does not care, and just wants to hurt people, there are severe limitations to how we can stop them. For example, my elementary school had recess on both sides of the building. Would we need to have armed guards watching kids on both sides of the building during recess? Many of the high schools I visit have hundreds, sometimes thousands of students streaming in at the beginning of school. There is no way I can think of of keeping all the studnents safe at that vulnerable time if someone is willing to take their own life.

3)  What if the armed guards or teachers hurt someone? I’ve met many wonderful educators in my travels but I’ve also met a few who have terrified me. Do we really want millions of staff members at schools around the country with easy access to weapons. Teachers work in high pressure, often emotionally-charged environments – even well-trained police officers routinely mistake flashlights and other small objects for guns.

What do you think?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nomusa Xaba January 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

Well Mawi, I think you said it as best can be said. We need to create a world of peace where our children (and adults) are safe. Some of the good that is coming out of this is that
people are beginning to re-access their priorities and dearly held belief systems. More and more children are the victims of adult malfunction expressed in violence of all kinds including guns and sexual exploitation. It’s time for serious adult rehab and a time to embrace peace.

2 Bill Briggs January 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm

So what is your suggestion to make schools safer for your son?

3 Pamela C January 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

1st. correct your grammar…3 Reasons To NOT arm schools is incorrect. It should read ” 3 Reason NOT To Arm schools.”
2. I don’t disagree with you, however, there seems to be no external, societal solution. The heart of man is wicked; who can know it? We can place all the controls we want on the external factors, but until the inner man is changed, then there is very little, if anything, that can be done.

4 Mawi January 13, 2013 at 10:07 am

Pam – I see where you are coming from with your grammar point – usually it is not a good idea to separate the “to” from the “arm.” In this case, since people might be expecting “To arm,” in my opinion it adds more power to to insert the NOT in between.

Bill – I read the subtext of what you are saying as, “You have told us that arming schools will not work. Well, do you actually have any ideas that would work.” Answer is: No, I don’t. I cannot think of any scalable, feasible plan that would significantly increase the safety of students in all the 80,000+ schools in our country. I wish I could; I certainly would tell you. The biggest problem is that the armed intruder knows which of the 80,000 schools they are attacking in advance; we don’t.

5 Setya January 6, 2015 at 7:02 am

My thoughts are for hope for the fuurte, hope that these lost lives with make a difference somehow validate the sacrifices made by thse who tried to save the children. My fear is that we will readily accept that it is an unavoidable tragedy and move on towards acceptance and complacency giving the next heinous crazed person that decided to do one better, We need more truth from the remaining living family members to help us make sense of the insane heinous act of a damaged subhuman.

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