We want to keep our children safe while they’re at school. That’s just part of being a parent, and it’s the hardest part of sending them off to someone else to take care of.
Sure, there are a lot of other reasons to be concerned about schools these days, but their safety has to be on most parents’ minds to some degree or another.
That’s not exactly helped by stories of kids bringing guns to school.
In Baltimore, a 14-year-old was arrested for having a loaded firearm in his high school. Parents are concerned, but one expert has suggestions on how to improve security in our educational institutions.
WJZ spoke with Mo Canady, the Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, an organization that has been around for more than 30 years.
The organization trains SROs and educates the public about their role in schools.
“It’s not just Baltimore, it’s not just Baltimore County, ” Canady said. It’s a problem nationwide.”
Canady says the uptick in guns found in schools started after the COVID pandemic.
He said there are ways to prevent the trend from getting out of control, including increasing security around the perimeter and the front entrance of schools.
Canady says SROs could play a big role in that too.
“Having a carefully-selected and specifically-trained school resource officer on campus, whose goal is to bring community-based policing into that environment, and to really connect on a higher relationship level with the occupants of that building,” Canady said.
What’s interesting here is that Canady doesn’t suggest gun control.
There are two potential reasons for that. One is that he doesn’t figure a local school board can do anything on that front, so there’s no reason to suggest it.
The other is that there’s no law in the world that would prevent something like this from happening.
Maryland already has a mandatory storage law on the books; one strengthened last year, as a matter of fact. It didn’t stop this 14-year-old from taking a gun to school.
Granted, we don’t know where he got the firearm in the first place. He might have gotten it via the black market, which is also illegal since he’s underage to buy any sort of gun.
If Canady had called for more gun control, it’s unlikely it would have been anything but a tip of the hat to the anti-gun atmosphere we typically see surrounding education as a whole.
But what he suggests instead is interesting, because it basically boils down to hardening schools in general.
We’ve been advocating for that for years now. We want law enforcement presence at schools and we want tighter security so dangerous people can’t just walk into the school. While I hated seeing my son have to walk through a metal detector every day in high school, I at least appreciated that they took his safety seriously.
We also know that the Nashville killer didn’t pick the Covenant School as her first choice of target. The initial target had tighter security, which protected those kids even if no one in the school realized it.
Tighter security can be a deterrent for mass shootings and a deterrent for incidents like this.
There’s really no downside to such a thing except, maybe, the expense. Yet I can’t help but feel like that’s money well spent, even if it’s never necessary.
If you’re serious about keeping armed children out of schools, then there’s no question that a higher level of security is needed.
There’s also no question that all the laws on the books in Maryland failed to prevent an armed kid from taking a gun into this school.