• Armed Staff vs School Resource Officers: Yep, One Has Obvious, Practical Advantages Over the Other

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    Surge Summary:  There are eminently practical reasons why the presence of armed staff members at America’s public schools will be more effective against dangerous intruders than paid, armed School Resource Officers. Question is: Will communities recognize these advantages and allow armed staff to happen?

    by Rob Morse

    You must be present to win. That trite phrase might apply to the local bake sale. It certainly applies to protecting our students at school. It is too easy for school boards and school principals to say they did something when they certainly did not do enough to protect our children. We can agree that protecting our students is inherently a difficult problem. After all, we are trying to stop evil narcissists who want to become celebrities by killing our kids. Formulaic answers don’t work for long because these murderers learn and adapt. The actions that protected our children yesterday might not work tomorrow. There are better solutions today and we need to recognize them.

    The threat is changing over time. Greg Ellifritz did an excellent job looking at armed attacks at schools after the Covid lockdown. Only 20-percent of the attacks are now in the classroom. That means we need to do more than lock the classroom doors. Half of the armed attacks on our schools occurred before or after school when students were out of the classroom and on school grounds or on their way to school. That number is increasing, and that means that a single School Resource Officer at school for a few hours a week isn’t enough. Murderers might be adapting to the security measures that schools have already put in place like locked doors, metal detectors, and revised policies when someone pulls a fire alarm or triggers a smoke detector. We have to adapt as well.

    We are changing every day. Schools are embedded in our society. Every problem we have in our culture eventually comes to school. We’ve heard calls to defund the police. Some urban administrators removed police officer on campus since they neither wanted to report nor wanted to file a complaint against the students committing crimes at school. As you’d imagine, more innocent students are victimized by violent crime when crime is tolerated at school. The social justice movements that removed School Resource Officers left students vulnerable to both common criminals and to celebrity-seeking murderers who search for easy victims.

    Administrators prefer visible solutions. It is hard for school administrators to get public credit for solutions that the public can’t see. The parents seldom notice the reinforced glass in the windows and doors. In contrast, the parents can’t miss seeing the uniformed police officer standing in the parking lot when children are dropped off.

    Unfortunately, public visibility works both for us and it works against us as we try to protect our children. A visible deterrent like an SRO helps stop low-level threats. The drug dealers move across the street and out of the school parking lot. The visible School Resource Officer is equally easy for a murderer to locate. The attacker can wait until the SRO either drives his police car away from campus, or the murderer can shoot the SRO first. We’ve seen both happen when schools were attacked.

    Any single defender has a fatal flaw. There is an obvious reason that one adult can’t supervise an entire campus. They can’t be everywhere at the same time. The School Resource Officer can’t be up on the ball field when they are down in the parking lot. They can’t be behind the gymnasium if they are in the central courtyard. A midsized school might have half-a-dozen hallways and an equal number of separate buildings. That means a single defender is probably minutes away from an attack. That delay leads to more dead children.

    The solution is obvious, if invisible. The researchers who study school security told us what to do over a decade ago. Murderers stop killing our kids when they face an armed defender. The defender’s response time predicts the body count. The SRO can’t be on the bus before school and on the bus after school, but the bus driver can. The SRO isn’t at the choir practice before school, but the choir director is there. After school, the SRO can’t be at the ball field and in the music room at the same time, but the coaches and band director are certainly there.

    Armed defenders are better than the statistics would indicate. The advantage of volunteer school defenders is that they are close to every student all the time. A mass-murderer never knows who is armed and ready to stop him.

    In their journals and manifestos, the murderers have told us what stops them. They avoided victims who might be protected by armed defenders. Schools that publicly announced the presence of armed staff have not been attacked.

    The perfect defense is one that
    avoids the attack in the first place.
    Armed school staff have done that.

    You can’t protect our students if you won’t try. It isn’t easy to protect our students. Defending the kids doesn’t have to be expensive, but there are real administrative and political issues to work out. It is far easier for an administrator to say that the problem is up to someone else to solve.

    We should not accept the excuse that the school will simply call the police when the students are attacked. That answer means that dozens of students and staff will be killed. We learned better solutions decades ago so we don’t have to accept that failed thinking today. We want our children protected all the time they are away from their parents. The good news is that most parents agree.

    Some administrators are amazingly creative. The great news is that we have time to defend our children now. We can put programs in place so that the defenders can respond in seconds. School districts come up with all kinds of innovative solutions.

    Some administrators assumed that their staff are armed at school just as their staff are armed out of school. Some administrators recruited community volunteers who help out at school. These “volunteers” were put under contract for a dollar a year to become “contracted security officers.” Even unionized school teachers volunteer to defend their students at a higher rate than the concealed carry rate among the general public. We never needed every teacher to be armed every day.

    The solutions are out there if we’re willing to look for them. School Resource Officers shouldn’t have to protect our students alone. They don’t have to.


    I gave you 1000 words for free. Please share this article with a friend and leave a commet.

    This article came out of the fifth training class I took with armed school staff. Those articles are listed here.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge.

    Originally posted here.

    Image: Adapted from: Public Domain Dedication. Public Use Notice of Limitations: https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright; https://picryl.com/media/michelle-e-quick-reyes-school-resource-officer-quantico-99e145

    Rob Morse

    Rob Morse works and writes in Southwest Louisiana. He writes at Ammoland, at his Slowfacts blog, Clash Daily and Daily Surge. Rob co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast, and hosts the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast each week.

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