The debate over armed guards in schools has been inescapable since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Since 1996, there have been 54 shootings in America that have been considered mass school shootings, which is an average of three per year.
The most devastating were the shootings at Columbine High school in 1996, Virginia Tech University in 2007, and Sandy Hook Elementary just last year.
Heading the pro-gun side of the argument is the National Rifle Association, (NRA) and its executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre.
LaPierre has been calling for armed guards in schools since President Barack Obama made it clear that he thinks America needs more gun control.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said.
Since 1997, the federal government and states have been taking measures to stop these random acts of violence.
Schools have introduced zero tolerance policies on threats, hot line phone numbers for students, labeling schools as “gun-free zones”, and anti-bullying campaigns.
“Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones, and in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk,” LaPierre said.
Although governments from federal all the way down to the local level have acknowledged this issue, it seems that these measures they have implemented have not helped in decreasing the amount of school shootings in our country.
There are a lot of points for the argument against having armed guards in schools as well, mainly funding.
The estimated cost of having armed guards in every school would cost the U.S. 15 billion dollars per year. This number comes from Steven Strauss who is an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard.
With America being in a very deep deficit already, the question is, where will the schools and states find the funding?
Strauss also believes that having armed guards in schools would lead to lots of opportunities for deadly incidents.
“Armed guards misreading student behavior (a student mistakenly shot while playing with a toy gun), student fights where a student grabs the guard’s gun, a mass shooting scenario where students are killed in crossfire, or a nightmare scenario where a psychotic guard massacres students,” Strauss said.
Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey is opposed to armed guards in schools as well.
“You don’t want to make this an armed camp for kids,” Christie said. “I don’t think that’s a positive example for children. We should be able to figure out other ways to enhance safety.”
Chris Christie is a republican, and the NRA is arguably the number one funder for republicans during political races, including the presidential election.
Christie is a potential Republican presidency candidate for 2016, so it was interesting to see him speak out against LaPierre and the NRA.
The debate of armed guards in school is a worthy one, children need to be safe and feel safe while attending school, parents agree as well.
While politicians are debating what is the best decision for our children school shooting are still occurring.
January of this year another school shooting took place, this time at a community college outside of Houston, Texas. The shooting took place in the afternoon while classes were in session leaving three wounded.
This debate is a very interesting one; the words armed guards are not defined. A lot of universities and community colleges already have armed campus security guards.
Also, some high schools in this country have a state or county police officer on duty while school is in session.
The shooting that occurred at Columbine high school had an armed police officer on campus. At that time it was the most deadly school shooting, killing 14 students and wounding 23. Also, at Virginia Tech there was campus security, and that shooting led to the death of 33 college students.
The incidents at Virginia Tech and Columbine were two of the worst school shootings in our countries history, and there was armed security present when the shooting took place.
Bill Myers is the Chief of Security at MCCC, he worked in the Sheriff’s department before taking the job at MCCC ten years ago.
“Everyone on my staff was a certified police officer at one time,” Myers said.
Myers went on to say that all of his security officers are armed, and it is not mandatory.
“This is new within the last couple years, and is in direct response to school shootings in America,” Myers said.
Within the past few years Bill Myers along with administration at MCCC took it upon themselves to make preparations in case of a school shooting on campus.
In the past years Myers and other security officers worked on a simulated school shooting with Michigan State Police’s SWAT team.
They have activated the ALERT program to inform students if a shooting occurs, and as recent as last month had a meeting with the Monroe Sheriff’s department response team.
“Communication is key, from students to security, to administration, if something is going on we need to know about it,” Myers said.
While the debate of armed guards in our schools rages on, it is good to see that some institutions are taking matters into their own hands.