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We Have Air Marshalls on Planes, Should We Have School Marshals on Campuses?

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On December 21, 2012 @ 1:11 pm In The Point | 9 Comments


It’s a reasonable question and a solution that is far more likely to stop another school shooting, rather than more empty shrieking about gun control.

Currently teachers can receive higher compensation for taking a variety of courses. Adding a police supervised course on firearms tactics during an attack would be entirely doable. And if we can have school districts where a third of the teachers have masters’ degrees, having a district where even a tenth of the teachers carry firearms and have been trained how to respond to an attack seems entirely practical and reasonable.

Tennessee may be a testbed case [2] with Republican state legislators preparing [3] a similar bill.

State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) told TPM on Tuesday he believes it’s time for that to change. He plans to introduce legislation in the next session, which begins Jan. 8, that will require all schools to have an armed staff member of some kind.

The current language of the bill — which is in its early form — would allow for either a so-called “resource officer” (essentially an armed police officer, the kind which most Tennessee high schools have already) or an armed member of the faculty or staff in every school in the state.

The choice would allow schools that can’t afford a resource officer to fulfill the requirement without having to pay for anything beyond the cost of the training and, presumably, the weapon. But Niceley said schools should use the wiggle room to train and keep on hand armed staff not in uniform.

Niceley said he believes trained staff could even be more effective than school resource officers, who wear uniforms, because potential attackers would not know who they are and they could keep their own guns concealed.

“The training would be beyond that required for carry permit holders and they would be subject to deep background checks and psychological testing. I don’t think we need to turn our schools into armed encampments, but clearly security is a concern and should be addressed,” Niceley said.

The left’s response to this is the usual incredulous, “What kind of crazy people think that the solution to a shooting is more guns on campus?” Except of course once the shooting happens, then the only solution turns out to be to rush as many police officers armed with guns as possible to the campus.

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, however dashed cold water on that plan.

“I think it would be asking way too much of our teachers for them to be armed in a classroom, and I’m not in favor of going down that route,” she told reporters. “I really think you really have to be highly qualified to handle a gun in a high-stress situation, which is in fact what that was.”

If highly qualified means passing through a police academy, then I imagine we could find teachers on campus who could qualify on that as well.

Harwell has a legitimate point that doing the right thing in such a situation is not easy and we don’t know how well anyone will react to it, but given a situation where a school shooter is already killing students and the police are twenty minutes away, how likely is it that a trained and armed teacher will

A. Take more lives

B. Save lives

South Dakota legislators are experimenting with another variant of school marshal.

My idea would be that school boards would have the option to secure the services of volunteer or contract state registered school marshals to provide security support on premises or on outings to enhance student safety. These would be plain-clothed, concealed weapon available responders. School employees could also go through the process to be a school marshall or they could be ex-military in the community or school, or citizens who meet a criteria that includes background check, mental health screenings, weapons and some level of reaction shooting scenario training.  My thought was it’d be a option for school boards to decide on for their district and the applicant would have to have the recommendation of the Superintendent and the County Sheriff.

The problem here is that it’s dependent on volunteers or special personnel. Volunteers fall away after a few years when there have been no school shootings and special funds for guards will also be cut for the same reason to protect core academics.

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[1] Image: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/we-have-air-marshalls-on-planes-should-we-have-school-marshals-on-campuses/owb_holster1-434x350/

[2] Tennessee may be a testbed case: http://www.businessinsider.com/tennessee-teachers-guns-2012-12

[3] Republican state legislators preparing: http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/funerals-begin-monday-for-newtown-victims

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