Armed guards in schools?

Armed guards in schools is a “no brainer” and no reasonable person could oppose it. There is no argument to be made against it. But is that really the case?

In the aftermath of every school shooting, we hear calls for more armed guards in schools. It is a simple solution, many say, that would save lives. I certainly believe this is one aspect of security that we should consider. But am I crazy to have reservations about armed guards in our schools, watching over children and teens?

There are good reasons to have reservations about this, especially when use of force is considered. We occasionally see videos of police officers using “excessive” force on unruly students, including one case where a school resource officer yanked a teenage girl out of her seat. (The teenage girl punched the officer in the face before he arrested her.) More officers will mean more incidents like this, which generate outrage even when the force is justified.

But to a more basic principle: Do we really want our children growing up in an environment where an armed agent of the state is watching them at all times? Are there cultural factors that we should consider before doing something like this? Should this make us uncomfortable? Obviously, it may well be that in some cases, armed security (including police) might be necessary to protect students from shooters. It is a sad fact that in some schools, armed guards are needed to protect teachers from unruly or violent students.

Yes, school resource officers and/or well-trained armed guards is something we should consider and it may be prudent for more schools to implement this as a security measure. However, it is far from a “no brainier” that should generate no opposition. We need to think carefully about proposals like this before we implement them in a heated emotional state.

2 thoughts on “Armed guards in schools?

  1. When I was in school, not a single person in the building ever had a gun, except for the rare occasions when a police officer would come in as a guest speaker. There was no security checkpoint. And guess what? Nobody ever came in with an assault rifle and mowed down children. Why not?
    1. In those days, Republicans had not yet whittled away access to mental health care for those who need it
    2. Due to the Brady Bill, military-grade weapons were illegal and therefore much harder to access than today.

    Sounds like there’s at least one solution to be had that would please each side of the aisle; unfortunately, the GOP prevents either one from happening.


  2. Another thought: the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms – not a right to bear any arms whatsoever. Obviously, very few people would want members of the general public to be able to own nuclear weapons. Nobody I know of disputes the constitutionality of this limit. But if you read “not be abridged” to mean “have whatever you want” then they should be legal.

    So it’s a question of where you draw the line. Limiting general availability of weapons to those which cannot be used for anything more than a defensive purpose would reduced these high-casualty incidents and be perfectly constitutional.


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