Shootings Heighten Need for Better Security


Graphic by Lital Elffasi

Graphic by Lital Elffasi
Graphic by Lital Elffasi

The shooting of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Conn. not only opened the hearts of millions of Americans, but it opened their eyes to gaping holes in the security system of American public schools.

Much time was spent mourning the lives of those passed, but the real question is how to prevent future occurrences. Concerned parties argue that supplying guards with weaponry would enable the school’s security guards to take down armed threats more easily; in fact, one-third of public schools in the United States have already taken this step.

Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), recently suggested the arming of the other two-thirds. He believes that this would improve the safety of schools; however, there is a lot of evidence proving that this would in fact be more detrimental than beneficial. First of all, it does not make sense to prevent violence with potential violence, and it is unwise to base children’s safety on such illogical methods.

Secondly, students are supposed to feel comfortable and safe in school, and the implementation of armed security guards would instead create a constantly threatening atmosphere. The Washington Post reported that a 2011 study in the journal Youth Society found that the presence of armed guards in schools made many students feel less secure at school.

Another issue is the money needed to arm security. According to the Washington Post, “The median police officer makes $55,00 per year. So figure that arming the rest of the nation’s public schools would cost at least $2.5 billion.” Are firearms the best investment to ensure children’s safety? There are non-violent means of stopping aggressors such as Tasers and batons, which can control a situation without resorting to such radical means.

Though possession of guns by security guards is perhaps the most prominent question, there are many other security features that are obviously lacking. In order to be truly safe, schools need metal detectors, working cameras and security personnel monitoring all entrances. This way there will be no unidentified visitors coming in and out of school property. Although main offices are in charge of identifying the visitors, not all visitors know where the main office is and others may purposely avoid it.

The primary goal of schools is to promote the best learning environment possible for their studentsa��to provide them with knowledge that will get them through life. Security is indisputably a looming problem that needs to be dealt with, but it is impossible for students to learn properly if they are feeling threatened. Having firearms around school will definitely not solve this conundrum.