Saturday, December 02, 2023

Proactively Preparing School Security

I am a second amendment advocate. I firmly believe that guns do not kill people and it’s people that kill people. A gun in the hand of a law-abiding citizen is only a danger to criminals. Gun control, if such a thing can even exist, needs to focus on keeping guns out of the hands of convicted violent criminals and the mentally ill. It should also encourage law abiding citizens to arm themselves with proper training. The more responsible law-abiding people that own guns the better.

A school superintendent in Ohio understands this logic. John Scheu, superintendent of the Benjamin Logan Local School District in Ohio, has initiated a program to train and arm his faculty and staff. Scheu is no stranger to this type of proactive plan. In an interview with The Washington Stand he explained how he set up a similar program in nearby Sidney City Schools 10 years ago following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In the interview he explained how he worked then with the county sheriff to improve school security, with cameras and better doors and locks. However, he told the Washington Stand that:

“The Sandy Hook situation showed us that we can have the most secure buildings in the country, and if an active shooter wants to come in and do that kind of carnage to students, they can, so that’s when we sat down and came up with the plan that had an armed presence trained by the sheriff’s department.”

Coming to that conclusion wasn’t difficult. Deputies could take 15 minutes to arrive and an armed faculty or staff member is on scene immediately. “Time is of paramount importance,” Scheu said.

Scheu explained that he is not a “gun person,” but to this point he has trained and armed nearly 20 school faculty and staff members. He has also learned that parents love the idea.

“The policy at Benjamin Logan we came up with is one to train volunteers — secretaries, custodians, teachers’ aides, principals — to either conceal carry or have an assigned firearm that’s securely stored and available to them in the event of an active shooter.”

“They go through intense training and are the first line of defense if there’s a shooter. They don’t help the police once they arrive — they’re instructed to put the threat out as soon as possible and retreat as soon as law enforcement identifies themselves.”

“The parents overwhelmingly have supported the armed response team, so we feel pretty confident that the community in general is supportive of having a trained and qualified armed response team to back up our school resource officers and the police.”

Naturally, not everyone was on board. Some teachers had reservations, which Scheu understands. However, the entire program is based on volunteers.

“Every one of these people are very, very committed to protecting their fellow teachers and students in the unlikely event of an active shooter.”

There are 33 states that legally permit teachers to carry firearms on campus. Hopefully that is expanded to all 50 states soon and that school districts take advantage and arm their faculties.

Speaking with the Washington Stand, Meg Kilgannon, Senior Fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council agreed that children are “precious assets” and need to be protected.

“Allowing willing and trained teachers and staff to serve on an armed response team is a reasonable and praiseworthy endeavor.”

Schools have taken the extra step of warning any would be shooters by putting up signs stating that intruders will be met by an armed response team. As Scheu explained, “It’s just a matter of telling people we’re not a soft target. Do not pick us to do your carnage.”

Signage, backed up with strength can be a huge deterrent. Many times places that display that they are a “gun free zone” are victimized.

This is a great idea that is being implemented in a structured orderly way. God forbid that anything happens, but if it does, this district is ready.