School officials in Fairfax, Va., are poised to consider new campus security measures which could set a precedent for making armed police, security and ex-military personnel standard at public schools throughout the nation.
The county’s school board will meet Thursday to discuss added security measures similar to those present at banks throughout the nation.
“Are our kids important enough to protect in the same way we guard money in a bank?” Elizabeth Schultz, a member of the school board, said in an interview with the The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard.
“It’s time to have an honest discussion,” she added. “The largest school boards in the nation have to lead.”
Fairfax County has the 10th largest school district in the nation. Schultz says she’s eager to get the programs in place because she believes they’ll serve as a blueprint for the rest of the nation.
“What happens here reverberates around the country,” she told Bedard. “Potentially it creates a blueprint for schools across the country.”
Schultz is urging policymakers throughout the nation to avoid being distracted by the conversation around guns and to instead look toward policies aimed at protecting Americans rather than disarming them.
“Guns aren’t going anywhere,” she said. “The question is, ‘Now what?’”
Here’s a copy of the school board’s Thursday agenda as published by Secrets:
Discuss implementing full-time armed presence in all schools – either through additional Fairfax County Police Officers or licensed armed security – and other Safety and Security aspects related to student and employee safety in FCPS school and administrative buildings.
The Board needs to have a comprehensive discussion regarding the Safety and Security measures deployed in our schools, what current practices are in place at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and discuss the potential of incorporating full-time armed presence in all schools – either through additional Fairfax County Police Officers or licensed armed security.
In addition, the Board should:
- Discuss the potential of acquiring additional technology for identifying active shooters in buildings.
- Assess existing policies regarding emergency preparedness drills and whether active shooter drills should be incorporated into existing practices.
- Other additional measures as may be suggested by Safety and Security personnel, including recommendations for additional safety and security subject matter expertise.
Aspects of Safety and Security which are different for administrative facilities versus school buildings also need to be reviewed and discussed.
If done right, the Fairfax district’s plan could definitely increase campus security. If done wrong, however, it could open the door to a slippery slope which could have U.S. schools looking like prison campuses.
The proposals being considered in Fairfax are similar to ideas Fox News’s Sean Hannity touted on his show shortly after the Florida tragedy.
“Let’s protect the kids,” he said. “Former military, retired military, retired police…every school should have basic fundamental security. Not like the White House necessarily, but we can secure anything we choose to secure.”
Geraldo Rivera weighed in during the same segment, suggesting that schools should have airport style security in place.
Cooler heads, meanwhile, are warning that increasing the number of cops on American school campuses would result in an increase in students being charged with serious crimes for behavior infractions which would have previously been handled through school disciplinary measures.
“Whatever benefits those measures bring come with ugly trade-offs. The ubiquitous presence of law enforcement in public schools has led to serious infringements of students’ Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, and it has increased the likelihood that minor disputes between students will escalate into criminal justice issues,” Reason’s Robby Soave wrote in a recent column.