Home > Uncategorized > NC District Adds Armed Deputies to EVERY School. Why? Because it is a Fast and Cheap Solution

NC District Adds Armed Deputies to EVERY School. Why? Because it is a Fast and Cheap Solution

I was stunned to read a report by Alexandria Bordas in the Citizen-Times, a local newspaper that covers Henderson County NC, indicating that the Henderson County School Board planned to add armed guards to each of the 23 schools in their district… but even more stunned to read the reason why:

Sheriff Charles McDonald said his office is under talks to determine the protocols for adding an armed force at the schools and what the training process will look like.

Thorough psychological exams would be required, he said, as would a vetting process to ensure the schools had no one except the best protecting them.

“We are looking for someone who doesn’t lack on training skills who can deliver an end product that we think will be a lot cheaper for community,” McDonald said.

The local newspaper noted that Henderson County schools have been plagued with threats of school shootings the calendar year: 16 to date. And in each instance the schools have responded by having lockdowns. As Ms. Bordas wrote, the support for increased security is widespread:

In response to the high number of lockdowns in the school district this year, the sheriff’s office held a joint news conference Thursday with school board members, parents, county representatives and others to address school security.

Speakers from different county positions focused their attention on stationing more trained security guards at the schools in hopes that will deter threats and violence on campuses.

“We have to start acting like we are threatened, because we are threatened,” said Amy Lynn Holt, chairwoman of the Henderson County Public Schools Board of Education.

But later in the article, the Board chair also noted the need for a more comprehensive approach to the problem:

Holt, of the school board, emphasized the need for more school counselors and therapists to work with students dealing with trauma or stress, like students in foster care or living in homes where drug abuse is present.

“We as a county have to get a hold of this if we are gong to improve things in Henderson,” Holt said…

Holt implored that parents need to be more involved and start actively parenting.

“If we do not have parents, students and community members saying something about things they see and reporting that, it doesn’t matter what we do,” Holt said. “So far, none of the parents of students who were found to be making threats thought their kids would be posting on social about bringing a gun to school.

“These children think it’s funny, but now those children have been arrested and have felonies on their record.”

If, in fact, the children making threats on social media have no means of following through, I wonder how adding police will help this problem. And if the children DO have access to weapons but those weapons cannot be confiscated I do not see how adding police will help the situation. Indeed, as Luke Darby of GQ notes, adding police to schools can only increase the incarceration rate of schoolchildren:

On its face, this sounds like common sense. Police stop criminals, so more police means less crime.But to people who study the issue, and students who attend heavily policed schools, the common sense doesn’t match the reality. There’s little evidence to support the claim that police make schools safer. In fact, as police presence increases, students are more likely to be seen as potential criminals rather than children

Typically, police assigned to schools are referred to as school resource officers, or SROs. The practice has been in place since the ’90s, but took off after Columbine. The National Association of School Resource Officers estimates that there are between 14,000 and 20,000 SROs in schools across the country, but there’s no body or federal agency that requires school or police districts to report an accurate count. The reason it’s so difficult to talk about the impact of increased police presence in schools is the same reason it’s hard to talk definitively about gun violence in the U.S.: There have been a handful of studies, but no one is really collecting data…

…in schools with SROs, students are far more likely to be treated like criminals over things that would have landed them in detention just a generation ago.

The parents and politicians in Henderson County might want to read Mr. Darby’s column to see that their decision to add more law enforcement officers to schools might have some predictable unintended consequences: a higher rate of incarcerated youths and no increase in the level of safety in schools.

But at least the addition of armed guards will give the illusion of safety and will be, in the words of the sheriff, “…an end product that we think will be a lot cheaper for community”.

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