On Fox News Sunday, Governor Scott of Florida was asked about arming teachers. His answer was “I want our teachers to teach and I want our law enforcement officers to be able to protect the students. I want each group to focus on what they’re good at.” I looked at the Parkland, FL High School teacher situation. For about 3000 students, there are about 130 teachers and hundreds of additional administration and other support people. What is an appropriate officer to teacher ratio? What is to be patrolled and guarded? What would be the additional cost imposed on every local school? One thing appears certain, a single armed security officer is insufficient to stop mass murder in such a large school facility – and maybe even a small one.
Meanwhile, the Sheriff of Butler County in Ohio has offered concealed carry classes for teachers. He allotted up to 50 spaces for these classes and expected 20 teachers to sign up. He had 200 sign ups within 4 hours of advertising the classes, and 300 by the next morning when he cut off the program. Apparently, a lot of teachers and other school personnel aren’t about to trust their survival to politicians and gun control advocates.
Possibly the most intelligent conversation of this past Sunday involved a Congressman who discussed simple and practical steps to securing a school and its students. He mentioned not only the obvious bulletproof glass, but also special door locking mechanisms and even escape chutes like exist on aircraft. He lauded the innovative thinkers who were proposing ways to harden the defenses of schools.
What is the bottom line from these three separate discussions?
First, there really isn’t enough money to turn schools into Fort Knox. A one law enforcement officer per teacher ratio would cost $5 to $10 million for a school like Parkland, and that is for one school. What, therefore, is a reasonable ratio and a reasonable cost?
Second, there is a real need to consult teachers in regards to securing a school. The idea that teachers don’t need or want guns is based on a political argument that ignores the teacher input. Maybe teachers, administrators and others ought to be surveyed on this subject.
Third, as said in a previous article on TBE, security technology ideas are needed for schools. Organizing a technology initiative focus on school security is something that the federal government can do. The results of such an effort can be given to the states and localities for implementation.