Armed Guards Don’t Belong in School

After the senseless tragedy that occurred in Newton, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary the entire nation has been engulfed in a conversation about gun control, school safety and mental illness. In my own Islamic school community, parents have  debated and had heated conversations about our kids safety. The school our kids attend is in the basement of a Mosque. It was decided that an armed guard would be the best short term solution in beefing up our schools security.

But that very notion of having an armed guard at school makes me extremely anxious and I don’t think he will keep our kids any safer. To invite a stranger with a gun into such close proximity of our children seems counterintuitive on every level.

My feeling on having an armed guard align closely with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy who said:

“Let me say this: more guns are not the answer. Freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher, and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom…”

In my head the math just doesn’t add up: Gun+Gun= safer school!

Having an armed guard at school introduces a whole new dimension of problems that we must be aware of. First  and foremost, the armed guard can be a potential threat to our kids and the staff. I understand that the guard would be trained and there would be a background check, but what guarantee do we have that he would not in fact use the weapon against us? We do not know what his intentions are and neither can we judge how he may feel on a given day. Why are we willing to take such a big risk?

The second problem that can potentially arise is the higher risk of accidents. If the armed guard  had a judgement lapse and mistakenly identifies someone as a threat he could potentially injure or kill an innocent person. That is also something that we can’t control and we are putting a lot of faith in a person who our community knows virtually nothing about.

The third problem is that we may become satisfied with the armed guard and not feel the need to consider other security options. The security issue is an ongoing dilemma that needs to be consistently improved by long term solutions such as adding video surveillance and bulletproof windows.

The hiring of an armed guard may make us feel more secure, but we are working under a lot of assumptions.The first assumption being that the armed guard is in fact a good and sane person who will not ever misuse his power. The second assumption is that he will never have an accident in regards to his weapon. The third assumption is that in the event of an emergency he will in fact put himself in harm’s way.

Our childrens security is paramount and an armed guard is great in theory “if” he performs as we would like to imagine him to be. But lets be honest he is a guy working a 9-5 job like the rest of us and we cannot put our childrens lives at risk because we are under the false pretense that the guard will put our kids first and will become a hero if an emergency type situation occurs.

The truth of the matter is that the Newton was an isolated event. Yes we should be proactive about our students safety, but we shouldn’t do that by bringing a gun into a gun free place. We should as a community seriously think about the potential problems and consequences that can occur by  bringing an armed guard to our schools.

8 thoughts on “Armed Guards Don’t Belong in School

  1. Agree. But why didn’t you come say all this at the security meeting??? Lol 😉 The problem is money. We don’t have money for all the bullet proof windows and surveillance and a lockdown system. But they are working towards it inshaAllah but feels like a far away future plan 🙁

  2. Huma, your absolutely right I should have said this at the security meeting, but everything happened really fast and at that point I was sitting on the fence and was not sure what about an armed guard didnt seem right.

    I was just going along with everything trying to pinpoint exactly what bothered me about an armed guard, well I finally figured it out…hence this post. It seemed that people that were for the armed guard were very passionate and knew from the start what they wanted. While as others (such as myself) were not comfortable with the armed guard but couldn’t offer an alternative either. That is why I personally didn’t get involoved beause I was unable to articulate what I felt and I certainly could not offer an easy short term and cost effective solution!

    The guard is an easy solution- you pay money and BAM instantly the next day there is an armed guard outside our school, other solutions would take time and money and would involve more than just the parents of the preschool.

    My post is late, but I hope that it prompts parents to ask the right questions in regards to the hiring of an armed guard. Maybe we can have a meeting with the schools administration and they can ommunicate our concerns to the guard. Open communication is the only way parents who feel anxious about an armed guard can feel at ease.

    • No I understand. I also didn’t have much to say because I didn’t know what I wanted either. Just went to the meeting to hear what others (or the hardly 20 ppl who came) had to say.

  3. Ooooh. I’ll say what I think. The guard is pointless and stupid and a waste of money and makes things worse. I could go on forever, but seriously, one man and how many doors are there in the building? Also, I was very upset when I found out they were going to hire the guard because I am very careful not to let my 4 yr old see the news. She does not know that things like that shooting happen. She does not even know that people hurt each other. I’m not ready to tell her these things yet and I am upset that she will find out from the one place she should be the safest after our home, the mosque. How many schools are in the U.S.? include private schools and tell me the odds of this happening at our tiny school. It would be about like me winning the lottery (no, i don’t play).
    I have to make dinner or I would continue…. oh yeah, we should NOT be forced to pay for this (not about money, about being extremely against this).

    • I agree. I don’t like the idea of being forced to pay an extra $600 for next year for three of my kids. It’s been what over a month since it happened or even two months and yet we still don’t have a guard, but we’re okay, aren’t we… Have been for the past three yrs my kids have been going there too.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts AT, One of the factors of having an armed guard is no doubt the psychological effect for kids seeing an armed guard outside their school. I’m not sure what the best way to approach this subject when new and returning students see this next school year. Maybe there should be an (age appropriate) discussion within the classrooms?

  5. After reading the whole discussion, I also have a few thoughts some of which I would like to share:

    There are definitely multiple entrances to any school or mosque, one guard can guard one door. What if multiple people come to do an attack at different doors?

    As parents what number can we put on the safety of our kids? Theoretically limitless, but actually everyone is on a budget…Islamic schools are expensive to begin with, security money is now gonna be on the list with the rest of the school supplies?

    I know that the unfortunate Sandy Hook incident has led to all these discussion on gun control, mental illness, and safety…but really anything can happen with anyone at anytime…there’s no rule that gun firing will only happen in schools.

    Besides a shift in gun control laws. I do think there should be technological safety measures such as bullet proof doors, teacher training (not gun training), and maybe some sort of automatic lock down of classroom doors with a central switch in case of similar emergencies.

    There should be state and/or county level policies and expenditures done to get schools up to par with safety measures…same for all schools across the board.

    And the end of the day we as parents need to make sure our children feel safe, and to be honest with them if they are ready and at the age to understand the truth.

  6. Reading this a little late but I have to agree. I was at the initial meeting on the Tuesday after Sandy Hook. I went because I could spare the few hours that day and was interested to hear what was going to be said. Those who initiated this process were extremely upset/disturbed to the point that they did not allow their children to come to school on Monday. I was too. I have a 2 year old, nonverbal, autistic, in a special ed program at a regular elementary school who 20 feet from the office/main doors/side doors. He won’t run if you tell him to run, or duck if you tell him to duck. If I kept him home, I’d feel better but it wouldn’t benefit him.
    Sorry for the tangent, but that’s how I felt about security guard being the option for the school’s security. My sister works as a teacher’s assistant in the school and my son goes to the preschool. My sister’s youngest son is in another preschool class along w/ my cousin’s son. My husband’s daughter and other nephews are in the rest of the school. I know other children at the school – so I have some major concerns. But the first/easiest solution isn’t always the best. Keeping faith in God and proceeding with some patience (not an emotional reaction) should have been the solution.

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