A sensible path to secure schools

It is an unfortunate fact of life in 21st century America that we must spend more resources and effort on making our schools safe than we did even in the 1990s. Like most people, we wish the money and personnel going to school security could be used directly for education, instead.

But that would be irresponsible at a time when shootings are too-frequent occurrences at schools across the country. The question is: How do we make schools as safe as possible without turning them into armed camps?

We believe the effort by School District 51 to hire armed security officers for local middle schools is a sound plan.

The uniformed officers will serve much like the school resource officers from the Fruita and Grand Junction Police Departments and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, but the security officers won’t be able to make arrests.

The new security officers will have to be certified peace officers who worked in law enforcement within the past two years. They will be expected to take annual courses to maintain their firearms skills and to upgrade their knowledge of handling school security incidents.

The new officers will supplement the school resource officers, and eventually the district hopes to have one for each of the eight middle schools, leaving the school resource officers able to concentrate on high schools.

This plan is much better than ideas put forth by a number of people, including some in this community, to arm school administrators and teachers or to depend on cadres of armed volunteers. The first option just places one more responsibility on educators who have too many duties already, while the second option raises the potential of creating more problems than it would solve.

We applaud District 51 for taking a sensible approach to boosting school security.


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