Imaging surviving a plane crash, one that killed multiple people – seventeen to be exact. But you survived. You made it. Would you ever want to board a plane again? Would you ever want to board that same exact plane again? What about boarding that exact same plane, over and over again?
One student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida explained that’s how he feels when he thinks about returning to classes. “Imagine getting in a plane crash and having to get back on the same plane again and again and again and being expected to learn and act like nothing is wrong,” David Hogg, a senior at the high school said in an interview with NBC News.
Since the Parkland school shooting, various issues have been discussed in the media, in government, and in classrooms. Not only are people worried about gun laws and mass shootings; many are also worried about the protection and safety of our children.
Although further restricting gun licenses and boycotting companies associated with the National Rifle Association may make fire arms less popular and commonplace, there are still various other weapons of mass destruction that can be used to harm schools and children. The new focus for citizens of Parkland and parents across the country is on how to protect all schools, and all children.
Depending on the state, there are certain mandates for school security. In New Jersey, the state law requires safety training for all staff and a minimum of eight drills per year – a separate number from the required fire drills – to prepare students for various situations like bomb threats, lock downs, non-fire evacuations and active shooter situations. Although these safety measures are in place, the majority of what school districts do to protect students and staff is up to the school officials, said Fort Lee Deputy Police Chief Patrick Kissane in an NJ.com interview.
Kissane is a member of the New Jersey School Security Task Force, which issued a July 2015 report that included recommendations to improve school security, some of which became law, while others were left as voluntary best practices.
To better protect schools, President Trump has suggested a mandate that would result in arming educators (and training them on how to bear arms). This idea has shook teachers and faculty members and infuriated gun control advocates. Many people see this as yet another inappropriate and potentially disastrous duty being heaped onto teachers.
Jeffrey M. Brindle, a professor and the executive director of New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, says instead of arming teachers, New Jersey should have an armed security guard in each school, as we often see in urban and inner city school systems. He also mentioned that implementing metal detectors would be beneficial.
“Although our society has a hard time accepting that we need protection at our children’s schools, these trained professionals will only bring good,” Brindle said.
In Nutley, New Jersey, the same idea has gained traction by a group of parents. The group, composed of sixteen parents at this time, has begun advocating for armed guards and metal detectors in their district’s schools. “I understand that having armed guards and metal detectors are ‘unappealing’ and might be perceived as making our school district look unsafe,” Erica Zarro, a mother of a 6-year-old wrote in a letter that was posted on NJ.com last week. “But then the question becomes what is more important to us – appearances or our children?”
The discussion remains heated and the various opinions are continuously stated to government and school officials. But people like Jeffrey Brindle and Erica Zarro just don’t understand why people oppose the implementation of these services, especially if they are succeeding in much more dangerous school zones then their children’s.
Professor Brindle highlighted that the government can restrict the sales of guns to children, to people with mental illnesses, and whatever other characterizations they want, but those who seek to do major damage will find other outlets for their desired outcome, so we must protect our children against as many of those outlets as possible.
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