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Armed guards in schools?

By Scott Tibbs, February 26, 2018

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.