In the wake of the George Floyd protests, there has been a call to defund the police. ‘Defunding’ the police is a misnomer in a way as what people really want is the demilitarization of police. For example, the police department of a relatively small city recently bought a mine-proof tactical vehicle. For all intents and purposes, it was a tank without the giant cannon on the front. I tried to look up what city that was but apparently, so many cities have bought these vehicles that I couldn’t discern which city had made national headlines. While I’m all for police having appropriate protection, not every podunk town in America needs a tank. But I digress.
Along with the defund the police movement a lot of people have been calling for the removal of police officers in public schools. A lot of people will point to school shootings as a reason why police should be in schools. Here’s the thing though, many schools where shootings took place had armed officers or guards, and lots of people still died.
Columbine High School had an armed officer who exchanged fire with Eric Harris, yet 13 people still died. Red Lake High School in Minnesota had an armed guard and he was killed in the shooting along with six others at the school. Infamously, there was a guard at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who essentially hid during the shooting that left 17 dead.
Conversely, there have been shootings that could have been worse if not for the actions of police on campus. At Socastee High School in South Carolina, the resource officer there prevented a shooting and potential bombing from becoming deadly. Last year, an armed security guard stopped one of the shooters at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. But even then, a student died in the shooting and the guard accidentally struck another student when firing.
So am I saying that police should remain in schools? No. Am I saying that police should be removed from schools? No. What I’m saying is don’t point to school shootings as the be-all and end-all reason to keep police in schools as their efficacy has been questionable.