Every public school in every state should employ at least one school resource officer — and that position should be funded by the federal government.
It is time we put as much effort into protecting our kids as we do our politicians and airports.
And it is time that politicians stop using school shootings to further political agendas like gun control instead of formulating a meaningful plan that might actually stop some of these instances from happening altogether.
The answer should begin with a police presence in our schools.
Following the Dec. 14, 2012 elementary school shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn. that killed 20 children and six adults, parents of the Ticonderoga school district asked for just that — a full-time police officer assigned to the district.
Unfortunately, the Ticonderoga Police Department simply does not have the manpower to fulfill that request. At times, there is only one officer on duty, and having that officer patrolling only the school would not serve the needs of the community as a whole.
To the department’s credit, they have agreed to increase patrols at the district’s three schools and will be there during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal.
That’s a start, as are security upgrades made by area schools such as locating cameras throughout buildings, locking doors and requiring identification to enter during school hours.
But is it enough? The answer, is no.
We pour billions of dollars every year into homeland security. We place full-body scanners at our airports. We surround our elected officials with nearly impenetrable systems and security details costing taxpayers millions.
And yet we can’t afford to protect our kids at school? Why should it be so difficult to protect our nation’s most precious and vulnerable people — our children?
Ti PD Chief Mark Johns has the right idea. He suggested a full-time school resource officer be hired and assigned to the school.
The officer, Johns said, could serve several purposes, including security for the school as well as keeping a trained professional available in the event of an emergency.
“And school resource officers often build a rapport with young people,” he said. “That makes it easier for them to approach police when they have a problem or concern. That can also help police with investigations.”
The hurdle? It would cost $72,000 a year to add a school resource officer. Johns searched for grant money but came up empty-handed.
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say the state spent more than $72,000 taxying Gov. Cuomo around in a state police helicopter two weeks ago so he could win his own rafting festival in Indian Lake.
Add to that what taxpayers shelled out to protect him while he was here — he had a security detail and entourage — and you could probably pay the salary of a public resource officer for years to come with that kind of money.
It’s about priorities, plain and simple. Or should we say lack thereof, and our school kids are getting the short end of the security stick.
It is time to put an end to that.
If the Obama Administration and our federal lawmakers really want to make a meaningful impact on decreasing the number or severity of school shootings, they should put their money where their mouths are and fund full-time resource officers for every public school in the nation.
Do we want shootouts in our schools? Of course not. But these would be professional officers patrolling our hallways, trained to use lethal force only as a last resort when the lives of children are at stake.
It could operate much like the Federal Air Marshal Service. The consequence of improperly discharging a firearm on a plane would undoubtedly be a major tragedy — and yet the air marshals, because of their training and equipment, have an impeccable record.
We feel properly trained and equipped school marshals could serve in a similar capacity.
At the same time, they would be a deterrent to crime, just as air marshals are in our skies.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that bad guys with a gun are more apt to commit a crime where they aren’t going to encounter a good guy with a gun.
And, let’s be honest. We’re never going to have total control of all firearms in this nation, and we’re not going to cure every mentally ill individual with a penchant for killing. There is always going to be evil in this world.
We spend an incredible amount of money attempting to keep that evil from our airports, train stations, government centers and other places of public assembly.
It is time we do the same for our schools.