Readers Write: The case for armed school security guards in EWSD

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For the record, I believe in enhanced proactive security appropriate for the risks faced. I also believe security is a spectrum.

As it relates to protecting our students, on one side of the spectrum is “do nothing” and on the other is a “personal armed body-guard for every student.”

The reality of what is appropriate and/or practical likely lies between those two points.

Further, I support public debate, information prepared by experts and transparency as they help guide the discussion to develop security appropriate and targeted to the risks faced.

I believe what continues to be missing in the debate about additional security measures at the North Side school is an agreement on the risks we are trying to mitigate and how the role of armed security guards can play a role.

Specifically, are we attempting to prevent:
-Access to our grounds
-Our student from leaving the grounds
-Vehicles from entering the grounds
-Students from being victims of distracted drivers
-An active shooter
-Students from being watched by parties outside of the school grounds
-Timely notification to the authorities of a security threat

I accept that we may be attempting to prevent multiple risks, but the solutions available to address each of these in most cases are very different.

From the public debate, the “fence” at the North Side school is intended to address most, if not all of the risks we face. I simply find that a false argument as armed security guards at the school can address each of these risks better than a passive fence.

That does not mean, I could not support a fence of some kind, in some application. But the reality is, armed security guards address each of the risks above better.

Per the police involved in this discussion, “Putting a fence around a school won’t keep a potentially dangerous invader out – but it can delay and deter them” and “In just 44 seconds, 60 lives could be taken”. Further, the Department of Homeland Security research reveals that the average duration of an active shooter incident at a school is 12.5 minutes. In contrast, the average response time for law enforcement is 18 minutes.

If we accept those statements and statistics above, any incident is likely over before law enforcement arrives. I submit, if you really want to protect the students, arm our security guards with both lethal and non-lethal measures. The reality is, without armed personnel to stop an intruder the “size” of a fence is simply irrelevant.

That is my challenge to the EWSD Board.

Arm security guards to respond to threats and treat each of schools with the same security protocols as North Side.

Otherwise, it would appear this current exercise of improving security would fall short of what it takes to truly protect our children.

Stephan Leccese

East Williston
As published in the All Things East Williston Facebook Group

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