I Told You Armed Security Guards In Schools Was A Stupid Idea

drug and gun free school zoneAll of you who think schools will be so much safer with armed security guards present should listen to this story. It’s pretty disturbing.

School officials at Chatfield Elementary School in Lapeer, Michigan decided that in light of the recent outbreak of violence in schools, they would feel much safer if there was an armed guard present during class hours. Sound familiar? It should. The CEO of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, went on national television to pitch the idea a week after the horrific massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. I thought he sounded like a crazy person, but apparently everyone doesn’t share my views.

Anyway, back to the school in Michigan. They hired retired county sheriff, Clark Arnold, to serve as the school’s security officer. Okay – that’s a little better than the idea of arming custodians, I guess. At least the guy has experience holding a gun.

Chatfield School Director Matt Young told WNEM, ”It’s a tremendous asset to the safety of the students. Providing a safe environment and an atmosphere where parents are comfortable, students are comfortable, and feel safe so that they can focus on learning.”

Sounds good, right? At least to those of us who hear the word “gun” and get all warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t. In fact, the thought of arming someone at a school my child attends terrifies me a little. For good reason, it seems.

Even retired sheriff’s make mistakes. The officer left his gun unattended in a school bathroom for a “few moments.” The Flint Journal reported that he ”made a breach in security protocol,” but that the gun was unloaded. Arnold will probably not face criminal charges because no one was harmed in the incident.

This whole story confuses me, predominantly because of all of the elements that are left out. Who found the gun? If he’s carrying it to protect the students, why was it unloaded? The school is declining to discuss the details and any possible repercussions to Arnold, calling it a “personal matter.” Something tells me if he would have remembered he left it there and found it himself, this wouldn’t even be a story because he wouldn’t have told a soul about such a huge misstep.

Something sounds fishy here. In any case, the armed guard that’s supposed to make us all feel so “safe” left a gun unattended in a bathroom at an elementary school.

Not good.

(photo: Sascha Burkard/ Shutterstock.com)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Andrea

      This is what I said all along. Given the current financial state of most public school systems, I highly doubt they could afford to hire little more than the most incompetent nincompoops. This guy pretty much describes the level of competence that we can expect. And in a way, it could have been worse. The moron could have left a loaded gun unattended for a kid to find and shoot somebody with. Think it couldn’t happen?

    • Michelle

      This is certainly not what I experience with the resource officers at the school I work for. Baltimore County Public Schools have officers who work at the schools that are in full uniform, including guns. Our officers are not only dedicated to the personal safety of the students but I see kids who have been personally influenced by our cops who are their mentors. They come to games, concerts, and plays even when they are not on duty to support the students.

      Do not let one story of gross negligence determine your opinion of having an officer in the school. BCPS has been using officers since 1997 with our program being nationally recognized.

      http://www.bcps.org/offices/sss/psManual/PS-707.pdf

      http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/police/community/sro.html

      • somethingobscure

        See, that’s a logical fallacy. I think that we absolutely should allow one story of gross negligence to affect our opinions. One slip up, one mistake, one irresponsible officer/team, and children could end up hurt. School shootings happen extremely rarely. It’s very possible that the impact of those few rare incidents of gross negligence could indeed outweigh the benefit of using armed guards as a widespread prevention method.

      • Michelle

        I think that this example is a good reason for why we shouldn’t have knee jerk reactions to the shootings like hiring an incompetent guard. I just wanted to show that there are successful programs where cops are in schools instead of saying all are bad.

      • Andrea

        I think yours is an anomaly. There is no way school districts where I am from could afford to hire anything more than an 8 buck an hour guy, put a shiny new uniform on him, give him some cursory training and set him loose in a school full of children. Given the odds of a school shooting (VERY rare), I’ll take my chances rather than risk a moron like that leaving his gun unattended for a kid to find.

        All those gun fanatics keep waving their 2nd ammendment rights in my face, but I have the right to expect that my kid NOT be exposed to guns.

      • thevek

        I totally agree with this. I am not a strong proponent of either side of the gun control issue. However, I think the NRA’s stance of having armed guards is not a good one for exactly YOUR reason. School shootings are indeed pretty rare, but we are all so heavily impacted by it when it’s in the media that you’d think it’s happening all the time. Not to downplay the losses that these families have experienced, because I simply cannot fathom how it would be to lose a child. :( One of the suggestions I had heard was to utilize soldiers who had returned home. While I can appreciate their willingness to do that and their experience, they can also come back pretty scarred. And don’t get me started on the number of police officers who lose it and kill their own family members. I don’t have any stats on that, but I would imagine that there have been WAY more shootings in this category than school shootings.

      • Barb

        Our schools in Charlotte also have resource officers that are actual police officers. Not retired, not “rent a cop.”

    • somethingobscure

      I just want to say that I love the title of this article. <3.

    • ahmad

      hey

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