Police in our schools

The Lincoln Board of Education just (barely) approved a new expenditure: $120,000 to keep four police officers in the middle schools another year. The argument has been an interesting one. Personally, I think there is something fundamentally wrong with a society that has become so violent that we must have a show of armed government force to keep order in a public school. If anything should hint to America that school is no longer a safe place for children, the perceived necessity of police force should.

The city currently assigns officers to each of Lincoln’s high schools, an expense justified by the fact that a high volume of calls originate from these lovely halls of education. But last year the city told the department of education that it could no longer justify the expense of maintaining officers at the middle schools (and whoever thought it was a good idea to have them in the elementary schools?) So the principals went to the school board, arguing their case.

And, begrudgingly, the Department gave in. I’m not sure exactly if board member Lillie Larson realizes how close she is to the root of the problem in her support of these officers, but her comment is worth some thought.

Also, police bring a certain authority to the school that neither teachers or principals have, said board member Lillie Larson. — Lincoln Journal Star

Teachers have no authority. Principals have no authority. And that is due in large part to the fact that the parents have no authority. Only a man in uniform with a gun.

Oh, yeah. I think I remember why we had officers in our elementary schools. It was part of a big safety plan (we are years ahead of President Bush and his little Conference on School Violence). We had a sex offender leave his group home, get on a city bus, sneak into an elementary school and molest a little boy. That is also why we have this multi-million dollar re-design scheme being batted around. Thankfully, it has been awhile since I’ve heard anything about actually re-designing those buildings already in use, but the designs for our two new elementary schools have been approved. Everyone must enter through the office and the classroom wings can be easily locked down. Sounds like a mental institution.

That reminds me. The school board would prefer to spend the money on social workers and a school psychologist than police officers. Either way, the net effect is that we are building prisons to house the innocent so that the guilty, due to their age, competence or other protected status may walk free.

Interesting solution that my public-schooled mind did not think of until reading the report. And that my public-schooled mind still can’t quite come to terms with. Given the nature of their jobs, many judges are already allowed to carry concealed weapons, a practice which is expanding.

“We feel strongly about providing adequate security, but it comes down to personal responsibility. And you’ve got to take responsibility for your own safety,” Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent said. — National Law Journal

So is it time to arm the teachers? Utah already does.

This article was originally published at Principled Discovery.