To the Editor:
As a school board president, it was most interesting to read your editorial regarding the affordability of school resource officers.
Concern for student safety in this day and age has given rise to an impassioned dialogue, with lots of folks rightly pointing out that it’s a priceless commodity these officers would be protecting. Lots of others are all too eager to vote down hefty school tax increases. But the need to react to current events is inescapable.
Many new safety measures have already been put in place in most districts. At Indian Lake, we’ve installed video surveillance and forced people to be buzzed through doors that previously had remained unlocked. Troopers and deputies patrol the building from time to time.
Would any of these measures stop a committed assailant?
They’d come back later if they saw a cop car parked out front. There are dozens of eye-level windows in our building. There are 11 separate entry doors. The playgrounds and ball fields are open top the woods.
Would a full time “resource officer” solve the potential problem?
I think not.
Since these attacks are extraordinarily rare (although increasing), this officer would presumably have nothing to do day after day, month after month. Individuals in that type of situation can’t be expected to maintain a high degree of alertness indefinitely.
I have proposed, on a couple of occasions over the years, that we send one or more willing individuals from our building for law enforcement training sufficient to qualify them to become deputized and keep a firearm on the premises. This could be the Principal, a teacher, a custodian or a cafeteria worker. Any of them would already be at work in the building, doing a job, active and awake.
Then we would no longer be the sort of defenseless gun-free zone that has attracted nearly every one of these atrocities. Help would no longer be a phone call and up to a 45 minute drive away.
I was surprised that not a single person expressed support for my proposal here at Indian Lake. Perhaps in Essex County you can do better.