Keeping Students Safe in the Wake of a Tragedy
Education News reports that groups of parents throughout the country are requesting that schools employ armed guards to patrol hallways and school grounds, including a parent-teacher organization (PTO) in South Carolina. Holly Carithers, an Anderson County parent and PTO president, said, “I do feel like there would have been a greater chance if somebody would have been there armed to help and protect those children.” While Anderson County does have school resource officers, their budget affords them only 22 officers to cover 52 schools. Unless other funding streams appear, many schools simply cannot afford to incorporate resource officers and armed guards in their already tight budgets.
Emergency Response Trainings
According to the Huffington Post, Jefferson County schools in Alabama took a different approach by having their teachers attend active school shooting trainings, a collaborative effort with the local sheriff’s department. Simulations occurred in which paint guns and protective gear were employed, having teachers play both the roles of staff and law enforcement. This is similar to trainings that were conducted in many schools following the Columbine tragedy.
Utah teachers were recently offered opportunities for concealed weapons trainings where, like in Texas, teachers and citizens with permits can carry concealed weapons in public places. In fact, a number of Republicans are planning to introduce legislation that would allow, or possibly require, some school staff to keep loaded weapons in their possession. These proposals are drawing a great deal of ire from all political parties.
While it can be difficult to find the positives in a situation like Sandy Hook, Education Week reports that the outpouring of condolences and charitable acts has been tremendous. Teachers and students have had productive discussions, and there has been a lot of virtual collaboration for people to discuss how to keep children safe and how to provide support for the victims of the tragedy. Most importantly, we are reminded of how much teachers care about their students in a profession that is truly a calling. Anthony Mullen, a teacher at the ARCH School in Connecticut, eloquently stated, “I don't know a teacher that wouldn’t give up their lives to save their kids. It says something to the core and character of who a teacher is."
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