Armed Guards in Schools


by Michele McCormack

MILWAUKEE-About a third of schools in the United States have armed guards. But after the Connecticut school shooting there is a new debate about whether more are needed.

" We don't need armed guards in those schools," Wisconsin State Rep. Fred Kessler told Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls during a recent CBS 58 News Town Hall Forum.

" We need your department and other departments to be able to respond quickly," Kessler continued.

Sheriff Nehls had this response: "If the first squad car and the first officer is there within 30 seconds it's already too late. There's already 30 dead kids. We cannot respond quick enough to stop the threat."

A recent CBS Network News poll said 74% of Americans think more armed security guards would help at least some to prevent mass shootings in schools and public places.

But State Rep. Sandy Pasch cautioned, "Most children in school are safe. I don't know if by putting guns in schools, how much safer they will be."

The Justice Policy Institute said its research shows you can not conclude armed guards make the schools safer. Its study did conclude that with armed security present "more students will enter the juvenile justice system for misbehavior and that black students were more likely to be punished by these officers even in racially diverse schools."

REPORT: Why increasing law enforcement in schools is not an effective public safety response to the Newtown tragedy.

State Sen. Lena Taylor also raised financial concerns, " Before we ask these districts with all their other concerns about funding teachers to now think about armed guards to keep the children safe, I'm just saying hold up waiting a minute."

In Wisconsin the decision is up to each individual district. But The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction tells CBS 58 that "DPI is in agreement with most law enforcement agencies that arming people and putting more guns in schools is not the answer to this situation."

Sheriff Nehls says don't lump him in with those agencies.

"If you're in a major metropolitan area," Nehls explained,"and your alleviated of responding to a school because there's already a police department there, it's a cost shift from one agency to another agency."

Critics argue that both Columbine and Virginia Tech happened on campuses where there were security guards.  Zeus Rodriguez of the St. Anthony's Private Catholic School in Milwaukee says armed security is always an option.

"If its something our safety analysts, or our parents wanted we would consider it," Rodriguez told CBS 58, "but right now we don't see a need for that."

The NRA drew heavy criticism for this video supporting armed guards, referencing the president's own daughters having armed security.
Kevin Michaelowski of Concealed Carry Magazine in Wisconsin says it's not so much about the daughters as it is about secret service.

"If there was a better way to stop that assault the secret service would know that and be employing it immediately," Michaelowski declared, "no one in the secret service holds up a sign that says gun free zone. They pull out their pistol and they neutralize the threat."


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