Students have mixed reactions to armed police officer: Officer vital to safety

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Students have mixed reactions to armed police officer: Officer vital to safety

By Dana Harris, Online Features Editor

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Within the past few years, reports of school shootings have flooded the national media.  Too many innocent lives have been cut short by ill individuals.  These incidents may have turned out very differently had there been an armed police officer on the campus at all times.

At the beginning of the school year, MCPS assigned CHS an armed school resource officer, officer T.N. Hargrove, whose main job is to enforce the law at CHS.

According to an, Aug. 24 New York Daily News article, many districts across the nation added armed resource officers to their schools after the tragic Dec. 14, 2012 Newtown, Connecticut shooting that left 26 dead including 20 children.

In the past, each MCPS high school had a resource officer, but due to budget cuts, the number of officers declined.  Now that funds have been restored, CHS has a full-time officer.

The presence of an armed police officer can be comforting to many.  In the event of an emergency that requires police assistance, the officer would be in a position to control or end the situation.

According to stoptheshooting.org, a website to prevent and raise awareness about school shootings, there have been 387 school shootings since 1992, resulting in 510 total fatalities. Over half of these victims were under the age of 19.

Can armed resource officers stop a school shooting? Yes.

According to a Feb. 1, 2013 article on Independent Review Journal, a political blog, on Feb. 1, 2013, a middle school student in Atlanta, Georgia brought a loaded gun to school and fired three shots, wounding a 14-year-old in the neck.  The school’s officer was able to get the gun away from the individual, preventing any further injuries or fatalities.

Some students may be uncertain or even fearful about having a loaded weapon in the school, which is understandable.  However, the weapon is in the possession of a trained professional who will only use the gun if people’s lives are at risk.

If people are aware that there is an armed resource officer in the building, it may deter an assailant from coming into the school because he or she will be facing a trained professional.

In the end, it is horrible that our society has come to adding armed officers at schools across the country, but there are too many violent and aggressive people in the world. Schools cannot take a chance on losing their students and staff. An officer on campus is vital to keep us all safe.