Teachers Are Not First Responders
“For a long time, we have been teaching people to be victims, but sometimes the only choice you are going to have is to die or fight back.”
Patrick Berarducci, Medina, Ohio Police Chief
You might think that Chief Berarducci is talking about private citizens defending their homes, but no. The chief is talking about school people confronting an intruder with the intent to “take him out” as other police officials put it.
I understand Berarducci’s concerns, but his choice of words is unfortunate. I do not believe that lock-down drills in which teachers shelter their students in closets, against walls, or even in bathrooms is “teaching people to be victims.” And while I regretted the security measures we had to install in our New York schools after Columbine, I have now come to believe that they are necessary. The days when visitors could blithely enter a school building and make their way to any classroom are gone and with them the comfortable feeling that kids were safe in their community school. When I walk into some schools here in Virginia and no one questions who I am or where I’m going, I have to wonder where the state ed department has been these last ten years. Even Berarducci sadly admits, “I’ve been in this business for 39 years. I never thought it would get to this point.”
Police advise that confronting a shooter should be that last choice. A new training video released by University of Wisconsin – Madison Police Chief Susan Riseling is called, “Get Out, Call Out, Hide Out, Keep Out, Take Out.” And police advocates for confronting the shooter insist they aren’t necessarily advocates for arming school people. OK, but tell me – how would the “take out” part work?
As it turns out, of course, armed teachers and administrators are already a reality in some states, notably Texas, where a few districts allow school people to carry concealed weapons. Nirvi Shah for Ed Week interviewed an elementary teacher who glibly talked about how she often wears “flowing skirts” so that her handgun can’t be seen.
Yeah, that’s what I’d really want. My granddaughter’s second grade teacher packing heat.
School people are not “first responders.” Shooting intruders isn’t part of the job description for teachers and administrators. When it becomes part of the job description, we will have a real problem when it comes to hiring.
National School Safety and Security Services President Ken Trump is not in favor of arming school people. He is, however, concerned that security practices are either lax or non-existent in schools he visits. Let’s hope that before people go off the deep end they recognize that there are many safety measures that schools can put in place to protect kids that don’t include teachers with concealed weapons.