Two-sided opinion: School security


Garrett Mahaffey

Recently a freshman student was found wandering the halls very suspiciously. Due to the fact that the student did not appear to have an ID present and was skipping class, he was stopped by one of the school resource officers. The student was questioned and was behaving as though he was under the influence of drugs. His bag was then searched, and a handgun was found.

This nerve-racking experience presents one of the most relevant issues today. As more deaths and injuries rack up from gun incidents in schools it is important to explore the options of developing environments that are safe and do not allow these frightening events to happen. 

The first course of action in clearing up this problem is prevention, but across the country public schools have low budgets and will not have the capability to completely prevent incidents with students bringing weapons into school. The suggestion of metal detectors and X-Ray scanners is a step in the right direction, although it is not feasible for a school that enrolls roughly 3,800 students. If a student wants to bring a weapon into school, despite the efforts of these prevention options, it is impossible to completely prevent it from occurring. 

Still the safety of all the students is in jeopardy at this point, so it is only appropriate to hire more cops and train teachers to create a more safe environment. In such a large school there is only so much the police officers can do as they do not have positions in the classroom. I believe the best way to prevent these brutal occurrences is to designate defense teachers that are trained and armed to neutralize a student or an outside threat possessing a weapon. This will increase security for students and sway the mentality of a student who might want to take action.

Gun violence in schools has become a huge issue in America. Due to the recent event that involved a student with a gun in his backpack, it has students questioning their safety at our school. Here at school, we have many armed officers throughout the school who are trained to take down events such as the one a couple weeks ago. But even though the issue was dealt with without any escalation, should security measures still be increased? 

One idea that has come up in the news is arming teachers. President Trump endorsed this idea following after the Parkland shooting in 2018. He argued that armed teachers with training and experience who “love their students” might be better able to protect them in an active shooting scenario than an armed police officer. Although this may be true, there are so many things that could go wrong with arming teachers. It is unlikely that a teacher would be able to neutralize a shooter while keeping themselves and their students safe. If a student were to steal the gun, if it was accidentally discharged or if an innocent bystander was shot during an active shooter event, there is a serious question of liability. 

In my opinion, there are two realistic ways to prevent these shootings. First, there are more security precautions that can be taken, such as threat assessment programs to identify and manage potential threats of violence. Basic security measures that prevent unauthorized access to school buildings, grounds and classrooms, including access control measures and interior door locks, can intervene to prevent access to a school and give law enforcement time to respond. More importantly, mental health needs to be addressed more in schools. Teachers and staff should address the stigmatization around mental health and provide support to those who come to them directly or those who they believe need this support.

-Anna Geller