With the recent school shooting in Townville, South Carolina many residents of South Carolina are asking if it is time to give public school teachers the ability to carry a concealed weapon on school ground to protect themselves and their students. The public policy makers in the South Carolina town will have to decide if they want armed teachers or if they want to hire sworn law enforcement officers under a Student Resource Officer (SRO) program like many other areas have instituted.
There is plenty of evidence that the SRO program has worked well in some areas of the country to curb drug use and possession on school property as well as to reduce incidences of fighting on school property. The proponents of the SRO program will point to these statistics and that their presence generally make students feel somewhat safe. In contrast to that position is the fact that the SRO’s being legally sworn members of the local law enforcement establishment will be called away from the school from time to time to assist other officers in the area. This happens often in the area where I live, the local SRO’s primary job is to patrol and maintain a Police presence around school facilities and events, but often get called away. They are a passive defense that roams around often and cover an area that encompasses several schools.
Trained and legally armed teachers at a school offer a more active style of a passive defense. I know that sounds like an oxymoron in a way but it sums it up best. While a uniformed officer is a known presence that anyone thinking of committing an act of violence can see, a trained and competent teacher carrying a concealed firearm is a threat any perpetrator might not be able to discover immediately. The debate on lawfully CCW users in schools verses the presence of a uniformed officer at a school is one that brings with it a lot of emotions and debates. I’m sure that they public comment period for this action in the Townville, South Carolina area will be spirited and emotional we will be watching to see how it all plays out .
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