With all of the debate recently on how to prevent school shootings, one of the ideas being tossed around is to put armed guards on school campuses. The NRA even put out an ad attacking President Obama for endorsing gun control laws while his daughters enjoy the protection of armed guards at their private school in Washington, D.C.
This may seem like a novel concept to some, but the fact of the matter is that armed guards have been patrolling public school campuses for years. Sometimes parents might not even know if the teacher is packing heat ... like in Utah, where teachers may conceal-carry their weapons without ever informing parents that there’s a loaded gun in the classroom.
Not every state or district allows teachers to slip a gun into their holsters on the job, but plenty employ armed guards on campuses for security purposes. Even California -- liberal bastion that it is!
Fontana Unified School District in Los Angeles has long employed police officers to patrol its 44 schools -- and they carry guns. Recently, the 14 officers that patrol the schools upgraded their weapons to Colt LE6940 semiautomatic rifles. The $14,000 move comes a few years after the schools nixed their guidance programs. One student told the press, "They should use the money to get back our counselors because a lot of us really need them."
Easier said than done, kiddo. The fact is that that $14,000 is going to go a LOT further in protecting kids on campus that it ever would for a guidance counselor. Like it or not, California is a bankrupt state, and things need to be paid for. Unless there are guidance counselors that want to come in and work for free, school districts need to make decisions as to how to spend the limited amount of funds they have.
One of the reasons the Newtown shooting was so tragic was because it was so unexpected for the small, family-oriented town. Things in Los Angeles are a bit different though -- gangs run rampant, violence is prevalent, and armed guards on campuses are a fact of life.
In fact, many cities across the country employ armed guards (along with metal detectors and drug-sniffing dogs) to patrol the local schools. This is almost exclusively in minority neighborhoods, by the way. Where is the outrage over that? If it’s ‘dangerous’ for an official with a gun to be on campus with upper middle class white kids, why isn’t there a kerfuffle over the same thing in poor black and Latino areas?
All kids deserve protection. The easiest, fastest, most cost-effective way to do that right now is to adequately arm the people that protect them. The real outrage over the weapons situation in Fontana should be: Why aren’t more school districts doing the same?
Would you feel safer if your kids went to schools monitored by armed guards or policemen?
Image via Drab Makyo/Flickr