Securing our school with a student resource officer The ICCSD should implement student resource officers in high schools. Incidents of students bringing firearms to school have been in the national news very frequently these past couple of years. Just three weeks ago, this topic came unnervingly close to home when administrators discovered a handgun and ammunition in the backpack of a student that went to West High.
SAFE AND SOUND
First and foremost, it is very important to stress that no one was in danger on Oct. 10. The teachers, administrators and police who were involved responded quickly and wisely to make sure the no one was in danger. They followed the protocol, and the system worked to keep everyone safe. We are very thankful to have these leaders in our school district and community. Though we are very fortunate that no one was in real danger that day, this incident brings to light a possible issue in our schools’ security. The student who brought the firearm turned himself in to the North Liberty Police Department four hours after he fled from campus. Administrators were unable to restrain him.
WHAT IS A STUDENT RESOURCE OFFICER?
One proposal to deal with dangerous situations in schools is to hire a Student Resource Officer (SRO) as a full-time employee in our high schools. An SRO is a sworn law enforcement officer who works closely with administrators to create a more safe environment for students and staff. They are similar to police officers in the sense that they are armed, can respond to calls for service, and make arrests. However, they also interact with and mentor students. Hiring SROs in our area high schools would make the schools safer. A law enforcement officer
would be able to restrain students who are dangerous to themselves and others. If the use of force is absolutely necessary, an officer who has specific training would be able to handle situations much more safely and efficiently than a school faculty member whose primary objective is to educate students. In particular, an SRO who is trained to give guidance to high school students would help diffuse, not escalate, potentially threatening situations. Teachers are not supposed to break up fights, so the presence of the officer would deter and reduce the frequency and intensity of physical fights that
Should area high schools have SROs?
12-2 The WSS editorial board in favor of having SROs.
happen at school. The SRO would be able to address incidents on campus much more rapidly than a police officer who has many responsibilities aside from keeping a high school secure.
GUNS IN SCHOOLS
Many people object to the presence of any weapons at school, and subsequently object to hiring an armed officer. However, it is important to remember that SROs are sworn law enforcement officers that are specifically trained to deal with dangerous situations. Avoiding the topic of guns in schools altogether will not make guns disappear, nor will it deter potential threats from bringing
42 opinion october 2014 wsspaper.com
guns to school. Given the impossibility of removing weapons from all households in or near the ICCSD, one cannot disregard the possibility that weapons could be brought to campus. An SRO would be the best possible individual to entrust with firearms. West High School houses over 2,000 students and faculty during the day without a single security officer. Many colleges with smaller enrollments have hired staff to ensure the campus is safe. Grinnell College, for example, is home to 1,900 individuals and has at least 20 security staff. Granted, this is the first incident in over 20 years that someone has brought a firearm to campus, but it should not take a big incident to start a serious conversation about hiring more security.
STUDENT OFFICER, SERGEANT
RESOURCE NOT DRILL
In the words of Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, “schools must be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses.” In no way should an SRO bring to West High a tense environment, but rather, reassure students and faculty they are safe in the incident that a dangerous situation comes onto campus. It is very important the SRO would not take minor behavioral violations directly to the juvenile court, but instead, help teach young adults how to correct their behavior. SROs absolutely should not punish minor infractions any more harshly than the school would otherwise handle the situation. Properly chosen SROs at City and West would provide the schools with the experienced personnel needed to promote a peaceful environment.
trig or treat edition sin
Unless you have short-term memory, the new sin on the front lawn is only useful the first time you see it. Still looks cool though.
cos The congressional midterm elections are the cos why I can’t look at any electronic screen without a message about Bruce Braley or Joni Ernst. Thank goodness they’re almost over.
tan There were too many artificial ones at homecoming. Using tanning beds before the age of 30 increases your risk of getting skin cancer by 75%*.
sec If you’re going trick or treating tonight, sec out those houses that leave bowls out with a “take one”. Best rate of return.
cot As it gets colder out, it’s time to dig out those winter cots! Brrrrr.
2π We’ve really come full circle this issue. COMPILED BY AKASH BORDE DESIGN BY AKASH BORDE
*Source: Skin Cancer Foundation