The Smart Way to Arm Teachers
In the wake of recent school shootings including Parkland, Florida, and Highlands Ranch, Colorado, there have been several commission reports recommending arming teachers and school administrators to reduce or stop senseless school shootings. These recommendations though do not come without controversy. Namely, the safety and effectiveness of placing firearms in our schools. But what if there was a way for our teachers and administration to defend themselves and our children in a manner that is smart, and secure?
The important thing to remember when looking at ways to better secure and protect our schools and other public buildings is that no one piece is the answer. The most effective way to eliminate these threats is through a system of Deterrent, Detection, and Response options that all work together during a crisis. Another thing to keep in mind, if response tools, such as firearms are securely and smartly positioned within a school, they become a resource if needed, not a liability.
How do you smartly place a firearm in a school?
Just the mention of placing a firearm in a school or arming a teacher brings up strong emotions and beliefs on both sides of the debate. It also raises the question, how you secure that firearm against unauthorized access, and how you ensure that only those that have been properly trained in the safety and use of that firearm can access it?
When these reports look at arming our school faculty, they are not insinuating that every teacher or principal have a revolver in their desk drawer. Instead, they are recommending that firearms be stored in discreet safe systems such as Grav I.T.’s A.S.R.S. Guardian and Overwatch products.
These in-wall safes are constructed out of heavy-duty steel and require a dual authentication process to gain access. Once installed, they can securely store a multitude of response tools from handguns and rifles to less lethal defense options like tasers and pepper spray.
What is Dual Authentication, and how does it prevent unauthorized access?
In the case of Grav I.T.’s A.S.R.S. system, in order to access one of their products, you must first have an RFID chip or code. The second step requires a Biometric authentication. Without both, access cannot be gained to the safe.
Another key component of the A.S.R.S. safe systems are their ability to record who accesses the safe and to then send out a notification of the access in real-time to the A.S.R.S. system and law enforcement*. By alerting both, responders know that there is a weapon or response tool deployed within the school, by who, and exactly where it was deployed.
The need for a complete system
In order to eliminate the threat of mass violence within our schools, we must implore a comprehensive and complete plan.
- Securing gates and doors.
- Maintaining video cameras that provide complete campus coverage including being positioned at every entrance point. Incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) detection systems within the existing video components.
- Formal Code Red procedures which are practiced routinely to teach staff and students how to respond.
- Installing as needed and maintaining an effective PA communication system.
- Training and qualifying volunteer teachers and administrators in firearms.
- strategically placing safe systems that store response tools including firearms.
Law Enforcement's stance on arming teachers
Most law enforcement agencies are proponents of smartly training and arming teachers. In fact, it was Pinellas County Florida Sheriff Bob Gualtieri (the Commission Chairman of the Parkland Shooting) who recommended that teachers in Florida schools be trained and armed. His recommendation was overwhelmingly supported by a vote of 13-to-one in favor of his recommendation.
They see this option only as a piece of overall security and response. They have all concluded that the points above along with positioning School Resource Officers are all needed and necessary to ensure our children’s safety while at school.