The Citizen’s SAFEST (School Alliance For Every Student’s Tomorrow) Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 19th at 7:00 PM. My email address and phone number are at www.firearmslawyer.net. Please contact me if you are interested in being involved with our committee or just wish to attend.
Many of us see the need to protect our schools with more than dialogue and political band aids. Elected officials and others that implement public policy have an instinct to keep themselves safe politically- especially regarding anything that has to do with guns.
At the February 12, 2013 meeting of the Federal Way School Board, I made sure that the Board knows that federal and state law empower the District to authorize armed personnel to protect our schools and that such personnel are not required by law to be law enforcement officers. I articulated the following points:
1. The FWPS should enable only highly trained and carefully vetted individuals to protect our schools;
2. These individuals might be called “Supplemental Staff” (or even Special Security) and will obtain training and equipment at their own expense; they should also qualify on the range in order to meet or exceed the same standards of proficiency as LEOs;
3. These Supplemental Staff will be available to back up School Resource Officers and FWPS security personnel that presently guard our high schools and middle schools; additionally, staff should be embedded in our elementary schools for which security is now only randomly available;
4. A Federal Way Citizen’s Safety Committee is prepared to meet and look at any sensible options for school safety;
5. My conviction that armed staff is the most effective means to protect the schools without immense cost is only my personal opinion (after several years of researching the options) but the Citizen’s Committee will advocate for any solutions that are feasible and effective;
6. There are already many parents and others- including the D.O.G.S.- that provide a presence in our schools that may help deter violence;
7. The objective is not to arm teachers! Nevertheless, teachers, administrators, principals , school bus drivers and maaintenance people should be eligible for training if they meet all the criteria established by the Board for those that particpate in the program- at their own expense;
8. The Citizen’s School Safety Committee will submit written recommendations to the District; meanwhile the Board should consider authorizing Superintendant Neu to work with us by discussing options and possibly involving the Federal Way Police Department’s advice.
We understand that many of the existing security precautions are not appropriate to be discussed but wish to at least understand any potential objections so that we can research various questions and become a valuable resource for the community.
Most of our leaders will not risk taking a stand until the right kind of people- their political peers- at least approve of holding the discussion!
There already are many WATCH D.O.G.S. in our schools ready to lay their lives down for the kids:
WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) – Is the father involvement initiative of the National Center for Fathering that organizes fathers and father figures in order to provide positive male role models for the students and to enhance school security. Today, more than 2,610 active programs in 42 states participate in the WATCH D.O.G.S. Program.
A local community activist named Kurt Peppard also made a statement. He stated that he is one of the WATCH D.O.G.S. and he knows a correctional officer that is highly trained and tactical. The officer told Mr. Peppard that he would not want to see armed volunteers in the schools and that the concept is a bad idea.
On the other hand, I have personally spoken to many highly trained individuals from various levels of law enforcement and military that are very passionately committed to the concept outlined above and that would participate in such a program given the opportunity. Some of them already put in many hours as volunteers with the City of Federal Way.
Think of Sandy Hook Elementary Principal, Ms. Dawn Hochsprung, who heard the shots and headed toward the danger. She was one of 26 at the school killed, including 20 students, who were murdered. She could have stopped the carnage if she had one simple piece of equipment- a pistol.
Ridgefield, Washington is in the news because they are using armed security guards. School resource officers are widely recognized for developing beneficial relationships in schools and communities but Supplemental Staff can also provide mentoring and other uplifting interactions with the youth in our schools.
There is a need for armed volunteers that are not in uniform- even if we could afford a resource officer for every school. The random nature of the threats requires that there be random potential for a trained adult to appear and deploy armed force at any time. The deterrent is in the fact that the active shooter has no idea how many armed volunteers exist or where they will be.
FROM THAT DAY ON, HALF OF MY MEN DID THE WORK, WHILE THE OTHER HALF WERE EQUIPPED WITH SPEARS, SHIELDS, BOWS AND ARMOR. THE OFFICERS POSTED THEMSELVES BEHIND ALL THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH WHO WERE BUILDING THE WALL. THOSE WHO CARRIED MATERIALS DID THEIR WORK WITH ONE HAND AND HELD A WEAPON IN THE OTHER, AND EACH OF THE BUILDERS WORE HIS SWORD AT HIS SIDE AS HE WORKED. BUT THE MAN WHO SOUNDED THE TRUMPET STAYED WITH ME. NEHEMIAH 4: 16-18 (NIV)
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13