A recent article reporting the loss of a resource officer at Brownstown Central High School provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the issue of school safety.
Indiana currently has a grant program that helps fund this program, but given the seriousness of the situation and the potential for tragedy, we have an obligation to consider other, more beneficial options.
If we are putting resource officers in schools because of safety, why don’t we have them in every school? There currently are about 2,000 schools across the state and to put just one resource officer in every school building would be an additional $100 million every year. While safety of our children is paramount, there are other, tremendously less expensive ways of dealing with this issue.
Indiana law currently provides for school corporations to authorize who can legally carry on school property. I believe we should begin with offering to provide teachers, staff and others who volunteer to take a certified training program so they could carry at school in place of a resource officer. The financial savings would be tremendous, the deterrent would be multiplied many times over and in the event of a horrible tragedy, these teachers and staff would at least have a chance to defend themselves and go home to their families.
As this is controversial, we must look at the facts and history of these events. The one thing in common that school shootings share is the fact that they are all currently gun-free zones and the victims are made defenseless by our current gun laws. People who are committed to murder are not stopped by gun laws; they only affect innocent people.
The first widely recognized school shooting was Columbine. There was a resource officer there at the time, but the two shooters had planned their act based on the routine of the officer. Resource officers are human; they take lunch breaks and develop patterns, and these patterns are easily figured out. This was the case at Columbine and is also the same around the state.
Another example is Sandy Hook Elementary. Like many of our local schools, Sandy Hook was what we would consider a “safe” school. They had electronically locked doors and a security system. However, the shooter merely shot his way through the locked doors. It was reported the six unarmed women killed that day either rushed the gunman or used their bodies as shields. Imagine the potential outcome if any of these women had been trained and able to defend themselves and students.
Millions of people are recognizing that they are their first and best line of self-defense, and women buying guns and seeking training are the fastest growing segment. We have the potential to significantly increase the safety in our schools, but we must have the courage and intellectual honesty to do so. Over half of the states allow carry on school grounds and it is time for Indiana school corporations to start recognizing people’s right to defend themselves.
State Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour represents House District 69, which includes part of Brownstown and all of Hamilton, Jackson, Redding, Vernon and Washington townships in Jackson County. He can be reached at 800-382-9841or email@example.com.