Join Guardian 8 in Reducing School Violence

Will you join me and the rest of the Guardian 8 team in our commitment to reducing school violence?

I ask because I’ve grown so tired of reading stories about student-on-staff violence like this:

http://privateofficer.org/fort-worth-student-assaults-school-security-officer-privateofficer-com/

and student-on-student violence like this:

http://privateofficer.org/student-charged-with-attempted-murder-following-cafeteria-beating-privateofficer-com/

And if reading the description of the student-on-student incident above doesn’t impact you enough, here’s the video (WARNING: THIS VIDEO IS QUITE DISTURBING):

Student-on-staff and student-on-student violence has always been inexcusable, but it seems to me that the incidents have been getting A) more and more violent and B) more “bold.”

Think about it. What child assumes that it’s acceptable to beat another student in the face to the point of nearly killing the other student? What child thinks that it’s okay to assault an on-campus security officer who is trying to stop a fight? At what point did these kids’ respect for authority and consideration for their fellow peers go out the window?

Forgive me if those questions sound as if they are borne out of frustration with a side of cynicism, but I’m willing to bet some of you were tracking with me. We all want a solution to this problem. No one will argue that. What I will argue, however, is that PHYSICAL security and a robust, meaningful PRESENCE is absolutely necessary to curbing the mentality that this kind of violent behavior is acceptable on-campus.

I know first-hand that providing well-trained security officers and giving them the tools and authority they need to do their jobs has not been the highest priority for every school district across the country. I learned this not only as a former School Resource Officer, but also from discussions with high-ranking security and school district administrators. To paraphrase one conversation I had with a school security official, the thought of adding more on-campus guards or providing them with suitable defensive tools and tactics training would not only “make them (the school board) pee their pants, but they’d probably vomit all over themselves, too.”

Why?

What is the harm done to students by investing in their physical security when they are at school?

I’m sure administrators would say that it’s less about security and more about spending, and to a point that’s fair. However, lawsuits from cases like the two listed above could end up costing those school districts much more than the investment in additional security.

I contend that students’ behavior at school is impacted by their environment. If a zero-tolerance and highly-visible campus security staff with multiple officers is present at highly-populated campus locations like the cafeteria or in the halls, students will get the message that the campus is not a place to act out in a violent manner.

Yes, there will always be exceptions and extreme acts of violence that pop up from time to time. Some of those are largely unavoidable. However, according to a study published by the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 966,000 non-fatal violent victimizations of 12-18 year-olds AT SCHOOL in 2013. What if an uptick in the physical security presence at all schools (both in term of personnel and tools) could reduce these victimizations by even 1%? That would mean nearly 10,000 children could avoid being physically victimized while attending school. Can you imagine what that could mean to the well being of those children, their self-confidence, and even their future potential? Wouldn’t that alone be worth the investment?

On a more practical and tangible level, how would a 1% decrease in nonfatal violence in schools potentially impact the bottom line? Although many states have limits on what a school can actually be sued for as part of the fallout from a violent incident on-campus, the costs can still be alarming. For example, a recent Colorado law said lawsuit payouts would be limited to up to $350,000 per individual or up to $900,000 per incident. At the lowest end of this range, according to the mean annual wages of elementary and secondary security officers listed in this report, just one lawsuit could pay for the annual salaries of at least 10 additional security officers. Is it possible that the presence of just one of those hypothetical officers may have prevented the incident for which the district got sued?

To be fair, I’ll also argue that presence alone isn’t enough. Defensive tools are critical not only to enhancing officers’ presence, but also bolstering their own confidence in their abilities. Although the officer who was assaulted by the student in one of the stories above missed her target when she deployed her conducted electrical weapon, at least¬† she HAD something other than her fists to defend herself. I applaud the school for equipping its officers with a tool. They recognized that empty hands alone are often not enough to handle violent situations.

After opining about all these thoughts, I come back to my original question:

Will you join me and the rest of the Guardian 8 team in our commitment to reducing school violence?

While we (Guardian 8) can only offer a non-lethal product to help security professionals do their jobs more effectively, we need you and other school administrators or board memebers to make some noise about the dire need to increase security at our kids’ schools.

I’m a parent. I know how important school security is to me on a personal level. It’s hard for me to fathom that any district administrator would ever pass up an opportunity to better protect the kids in his/her district. I invite you to start the discussion in your district.

Be bold.

And if you believe in this movement, forward this blog to someone who will read it. The discussion NEEDS to happen.

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