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Clarion Staff Editorial: We don’t know much, but we know we don’t want armed teachers, guards

Security guards Ruge and Cima attempt to open a student's locker in a routine procedure

Security guards Ruge and Cima attempt to open a student's locker in a routine procedure

Staff

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Recent security concerns at RBHS and around the nation have brought attention to the current security measures being enforced in our school building. Whether or not there is an increased need for security is one of the questions that school administration needs to consider.

Though RB has conducted lockdown drills for years, after the Newtown shooting, the administration ran an enhanced lockdown drill this year.  Lockdown drills allow students and staff to follow a unified protocol in case an intruder enters the building.

While we at Clarion appreciate the effort to make lockdown drills more realistic, we still feel like the school could go further to make these drills authentic.  It is difficult to simulate an emergency situation when everyone – students and staff alike- are aware that a drill is about to occur.  During fire drills, students are never truly aware of whether an actual fire has occurred or if they are just participating in a drill.  This forces everyone involved to take the task at hand more seriously.

While simply having lockdown security drills unannounced may cause stress and upset within the school student body, at the very least school administration could vary when and how the drills occur.  Students do not panic during a fire drill.  We need to have the same sort of routine adherence to procedure during a lockdown drill.

Our staff did come to a general consensus that some action needs to be taken to improve overall security at RB.  For example, we – and many of our peers – noted that the glass in the classroom doors would be safer if it were replaced with security glass.  We believe that the school needs to continue to offer advanced training for security guards to handle emergency situations.

While no single security measure taken will guarantee safety within the building, it is important to keep improving.

At the same time, our staff unanimously opposes the idea of arming teachers or school security guards.  The mere thought of having firearms in our building may make students feel more unsafe than not, even setting aside the conflict in personal beliefs that arming our teachers or security guards would bring up amongst anti-firearm families, who would not agree with sending their children to school in an environment with guns.  Adding firearms to the building would also increase the (admittedly unlikely) possibility that those guns would be used outside of their given purpose.

Much like the nation, our staff was split over whether or not the school should hire an armed police offer to patrol the grounds.  The introduction of any gun into a school is a sensitive topic.  At the very least, if school administration hired an on-site police officer, we hope they would recognize that he is more than just a “man with a gun,” and that they would make an effort to help him become part of the school community.  We were also concerned that hiring a police offer would take up precious budgetary space that would have to be compensated for, whether through more teacher layoffs or a continuing increase in class size.

At the end of the day, we understand that safety is a top priority in our school, and we hope that whatever measures the administration eventually takes will be made with both the physical and emotional security of the student body at the forefront.

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Clarion Staff Editorial: We don’t know much, but we know we don’t want armed teachers, guards