Let us conduct an experiment. I challenge you, the taxpaying parent, to ask an elected county official the following question: "What type of protection should my child receive at his school?" "The BEST!" will come the enthusiastic reply from the public servant. Then why are your children, in reality, being provided inadequate protection? Up to this date, I have refrained from writing about the information I have for years made available to elected officials concerning the most effective means of protection for your children. The new school year is upon us and those officials have not acted as leaders to provide all our children the best means of protection. In a two-part article, I'm going to lay on the table for parents the same cards I have provided those officials. You may then decide whether or not you agree with their refusal to adopt the same, proven strategy as used to protect our politicians and their children?
The first time a school "resource" officer is known to have been placed inside a school was in 1953 at Flint, Michigan. The original purpose for placing a police officer within the schools was to provide a positive image of policemen among teenagers. As the program spread across the nation, the position became more entrenched at the high school level as petty drug and gang criminal activity infiltrated urban schools. However, the greatest threat facing our schools today comes from spree mass murderers; the dated school resource officer model has fatal flaws when depended upon as a counter to such a threat.
It does not matter whether Officer Friendly or Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris is offered up to you as your child's new school resource officer. By using a (lone) uniformed policeman as the protector of your children, county/city officials have placed both your children and the police officer in danger. I won't go into details, but it doesn't take a tactical genius to devise a simple plan to neutralize the known armed individual stationed at the school from the outset of an attack, and then the slaughter begins. Also, how is it possible for fewer resource officers than county schools to cover all schools simultaneously? Isn't having an insufficient number of officers asking parents to believe officials may somehow make an "appointment" with an attacker so that a resource officer may be at the right school at the right time to make any sort of a difference?
Another disclosure for parents (though this information is already open-source) is what forms the backbone of our politicians' best means of protection: Multiple unidentified armed personnel, on-site. Understand, the Ray-Ban wearing agents you see surrounding our President are really window dressing. If God forbid there were an attack on our President, the bodyguards you're used to seeing on TV would whisk the President away from the scene, and previously unidentified, multiple armed personnel would eliminate the attacker(s).
"How could our school system possibly afford multiple, unidentified armed personnel at every school to protect our children?" Excellent question. Another excellent question would be how on earth could our school system afford a single "resource" officer in each of our schools? As referenced earlier, the resource officer model was never envisioned as a means of protecting your children from armed attackers. As an example, which of your children are most in need of defense: Your 200 pound junior defensive lineman son at the high school, or your 45 pound first grade daughter? I've not even gotten into the fact that in order to have a best defense for your children, we need a minimum of three, unidentified armed personnel at EACH of our schools. No county in the state of Kentucky can afford the $30,000 to $60,000 annual salary cost per location to provide a single resource officer for all of their systems' schools.
Morris, you talk a big game, but how on earth could we ever afford what you're proposing? What if I told you there's more than one way already available via the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) to provide multiple, unidentified armed personnel at each school (at an annual additional salary cost of $0); your elected officials have been briefed on those options; and yet they still refused to act?
First, the law pertaining to firearms in Kentucky schools (KRS 527.070) contains a long list of exceptions to the ban on the carrying of firearms in schools. Subparagraph (3)(f) reads as follows:
Any other persons, including, but not limited to, exhibitors of historical displays, who have been authorized to carry a firearm by the board of education or board of trustees of the public or private institution;
After the Parkland, Florida Massacre last February the superintendent's office was reached out to and reminded of the authority the board of education possesses to place multiple, unidentified armed personnel within the schools, and the expert training offered free of cost through the Protecting Our Students and Teachers program (POSTky.org). What did your children receive instead? $400,000 worth of lone, unarmed school "Safety Monitors." I would encourage parents to call the central office and attend school board meetings, asking the hard questions as to why a proven protection model (multiple, unidentified armed school personnel at ALL our schools) wasn't chosen? In the meantime, I would remind all Madison County Schools' personnel it is completely legal for an adult with a concealed carry permit to possess a firearm inside a locked vehicle on school grounds throughout the Commonwealth (KRS 527.020(4)); there's not a single thing any administrator or law enforcement officer may legally do to prevent you from following this strategy to protect your pupils. Though not as effective as unidentified armed personnel already inside the school, the time it takes an employee to retrieve a firearm from their locked vehicle during an attack will be far more timely than any civilian police response. Saved lives are measured in seconds, not minutes during school mass murder situations.
Shane Morris is a retired federal agent and public school teacher. He has served on protective service details in the Continental United States and the Middle East.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Part two of this column will appear in Thursday's edition of The Register.