Guest Post by Becky Behrends, M.D. and Vice President of Research for Michigan Citizens for Election Integrity (MC4EI.com)
Classroom lockdown kits are becoming an ever more present item for school districts to consider purchasing. These kits typically contain buckets to be used as toilets, toilet paper, waste bags, privacy tarps, wet wipes, duct tape, and gloves. If a school goes into lockdown for whatever reason, such as the presence of an active shooter, kids can not go to the restroom. Lockdown kits are to help alleviate this added stress.
The Walled Lake School District in Michigan had its first exposure recently to this issue. The seven-member school board voted 4 to 3 to approve lockdown kits in all 800 classrooms in the district. The three school board members who voted against the resolution are new conservative members of the school board. No doubt, they will be perceived as uncaring and concerned more about budgets than children.
But let’s take a look at this situation.
The lockdown kits are to be obtained from a company in California. The shipping cost alone is about $5800 to receive 800 kits. The total cost to the school district is around $30,500. That amounts to about $38 per classroom kit. And “perfume” can even be purchased for the potty if needed! Local law enforcement supports these kits.
The conservative school board members made the argument that surely lockdown kits could be provided much cheaper if supplied by a Michigan company or state closer to home without the excessive shipping cost. Or, parents could be enlisted in a volunteer spirit to supply the needed items to the classrooms at a much lower cost.
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In addition, the school district has an over $ 1 million grant for school safety which has to be used up by the end of 2024. Again, the conservative school board members raised the point, “what are the priorities in school safety? What should come first and foremost on such a list?” The school district is running a “safety assessment” on all the schools, but the information from it has not been shared with school board members. When the question is raised about having armed guards in schools by parents and conservative school board members, the school district refuses to discuss it.
And so the pro-teachers union, the liberal-minded audience at the school board meeting, heartily applauded the vote to purchase lockdown potties. They have infamously now been dubbed the “piss pots.” Emotions run high over such issues. Fiscally-minded conservatives have a hard time getting a reason to prevail. They are just as concerned about the needs of the children. But what is the best way to provide for those needs and protect taxpayer dollars?
There is continued debate about providing armed security guards around schools.
In 2012, a 20yr old man opened fire on 26 people, mostly schoolchildren, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Just before the school massacre, the shooter killed his own mother. And he committed suicide after the shooting. This has been the second deadliest shooting in US history. (The Virginia Polytechnic Institute shootings in 2007 claimed 32 lives).
A news report that followed the horrific Sandy Hook shooting incident shows the benefits of having experienced, armed law enforcement individuals working inside schools. “The school resource officer is much more than a guard at the door with a gun,” the WTNH-8 reporter explains, as they show examples of positive relationships kids are able to build with law enforcement because of their regular presence at school.
Here are some of the rationale for having armed security guards at schools as provided by expertsecuritytips.com:
1. Reduced incidences of violence
If Sandy Hook Elementary School had armed security guards on duty during December 20, 2012, shootings, chances are, the shooting would have been averted. Or the casualty figure would be much reduced – at least. The truth is that to disarm an armed individual; you will need another armed individual. So, armed security guards will help disarm and foil the plans of any criminal.
2. Reduced bullying and fighting
Aside from watching out for criminals or serial killers who may find their way into schools, armed security guards will also help reduce bullying, fighting, and other forms of violence among schoolchildren. During such incidents, the guards will always be available to handle the situation – without wielding firearms, though.
3. Increased vigilance and observation of schoolchildren
Armed security guards can help observe schoolchildren keenly. This way, they can take note of the depressed ones or the overly aggressive ones. Most cases of school shootings involve children who, having been depressed for a long time, resorted to venting their anger on others by shooting at them. To prevent this, security guards can watch out for depressed children and report their cases to the school authorities for necessary action.
4. More informed parents
Armed school security guards, after observing the activities of schoolchildren, can provide helpful information to parents. For instance, they can report aggressive or depressed children to their parents so that the parents will take necessary action.
5. Instant help for distressed schoolchildren
Sometimes, accidents or falls that occur within school premises can be prevented by the security guards. Many such incidents develop into serious health cases because nobody is around to offer instant help to the victim. With armed security guards in schools, schoolchildren will get timely help after falls and accidents and after sustaining injuries through other means.
6. Security boost (with assistance from teachers)
Armed school security guards will work with teachers to boost security in schools. Sometimes, teachers may be the first to notice a dangerous incident, but they would be too frightened or confused to take action or handle the situation. In such instances, teachers can call on the security guards, who would then handle the situation.
7. Guidance for parents and strangers
Though this may not be the sole reason why they are hired, armed security guards can help show the way within the school premises to parents, guardians, or other strangers. This way, parents or guardians won’t have to loiter unnecessarily in and around the premises before finding their way or their wards.
8. Security checks on strangers and schoolchildren
As a security measure, armed security guards will check strangers before allowing them entrance into the school premises. This is to ensure that strangers are not carrying deadly weapons or having dangerous intents. Similarly, armed security guards will help check the bags of schoolchildren for any dangerous weapons such as guns, knives, and so on. Though this may sound weird, the increased rates of children handling their parents’ weapons have warranted it.
9. Help for schoolchildren
With armed school security guards around, students will have them to call on for help during distress situations. For instance, a schoolchild who has been bullied can report it to the security guards. Also, if a schoolchild notices a dangerous weapon in another student’s bag, he or she can quickly alert the security guards. Sometimes, schoolchildren are the first to notice dangerous situations, even before their teachers. But having security guards for them to call on in such situations will help check many dangerous incidents.
10. Effective and professional handling of security devices
Professional security guards are well-trained in how to operate, handle, and respond to security devices such as security alarms, security cameras, and so on. With them on duty, armed security guards will help manage the school’s security devices and make the most of them. Also, they will interpret these devices better and take the necessary actions to ensure safety and security.
Think about it.
We provide armed security in banks, airports, malls, and shops. We provide armed security to the US President and his immediate family and to former presidents and their families. There were 11 secret service agents guarding presidential daughters Sasha and Malia Obama. If we do not object to protection for our president’s kids, why should we object to arms in school for the “plebeian children”?
Those who object say they don’t want to create a “police state.” But it’s okay to have runaway crime with no protection for the innocent? Politicians think they are solving the problem by banning weapons. Bad actors will still be able to get weapons. We have not solved the culture of violence in our nation, which is at the heart and core of the problem. Until that happens, we need more than “after the fact” piss pots in classrooms. We need preemptive action. There always seems to be enough money in school districts to hire more Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff and contribute to the administrative bloat.