Story originally published in The Apple Leaf Oct. 15, 2014.
Some high schools in the United States are equipped with high-tech security systems, extra campus officers, and even sniffing dogs. With the traumatic school shootings that have occurred in the last few years, some schools are even sending their teachers and faculty members to school with loaded weapons. And I say, more power to them.
When schools allow their faculty to be better equipped to take charge in an emergency, not only are they protecting the lives of the nation’s most vulnerable, but they’re also sending a message to any intruder that may think of shooting up a school. Putting myself in the shoes of an intruder, I would likely think twice about a school standoff if I knew that people inside could fire right back.
In Utah, it’s actually legal for someone with a concealed weapons permit to have a weapon with them at any time. For teachers in that state, bringing a gun to school isn’t out of the ordinary, and if anyone wonders, Utah’s state law says it’s illegal for them to ask.
This brings up the point of: “Yikes, I don’t want just any teacher to be carrying a gun around…” Well, yes, I would completely agree with that. In order to be effective, a school would have to be discreet in who gets selected to conceal a weapon.
If there were only a few “first responders” in a building, who were unknown to all except administrators, the hype and uncertainty would likely be minimum and a non-issue to most people in a school. These select individuals would also need special training and a background check to ensure complete safety while serving as concealed weapons bearers of a school. It might also be smart to require frequent mental health evaluations to completely confirm that a weapon on that person is making the school safer, rather than dangerous.
If weapons are out of the picture, it seems appropriate that specially-trained dogs got a job in schools to sniff out bad things that could pose an imminent threat to the building.
Wenatchee High School is already supplied with two great security officers, who work tirelessly to ensure a safe campus. As pointed out by the editorial board of The Apple Leaf, it might be smart for the Wenatchee School District to be proactive and re-evaluate the safeness of our schools and what’s being done to make them safer.