Guest Column by John Donnelly……
Developing “pilot programs” whose objectives are student safety and secure schools has become a national priority.
Creating criterion for hiring a School Marshal/Security Officer, which screens candidates to insure that they’re physically fit, psychologically stable, certified marksmen with a pistol and rifle and free from any criminal misconduct is an essential beginning.
Critical to the success of this “pilot program” will be the fact that every potential Marshal/Officer will eventually be required to handle a K-9 (working dog) during the performance of their duties at school.
So here we have it. A statuesque and well trained professional with a large German Sheppard, armed with a pistol and rifle; securing all access, egress and points of vulnerability on campus, as established by a “risk assessment”.
Video’s of this “Marine Type Sentry” and “Scout Dog” protecting our children will be published online and in all our media outlets. Providing reassurance to parents, grandparents and family members that their children are indeed important to those charged with their care.
Volunteers and funding supporting this safety program will skyrocket, as citizens visualize its promise and potential.
Once this extraordinary “pilot program” is set in motion, a template upon which others can be expeditiously introduced at all schools will have been established.
The “operational imperative” upon which all education is substantiated, is firmly founded upon “Student Safety First”.
The present status and purpose of the “School Resource Officer” must be re-evaluated and re-defined. Characteristics identified in the criterion for School Marshal/Security Officer must be taken into consideration when selecting and assigning a “Resource Officer” to a particular school.
Parents and relatives from every walk of life have contacted me expressing their legitimate fears; regarding unsafe classrooms, unsecured schools and violent classmates in their son’s and daughter’s classroom.
A societal “tipping point” has been reached that will not correct itself without bold action, a response not normally expected from educators. However, if we’re indeed the “educators and leaders” we purport to be, we must responsibly acknowledge the threats facing our children.
Suitable candidates ready to staff positions necessary to protect our school children, eagerly await a “call to duty”.