A recent poll conducted of readers of our websites in Pickens and Anderson counties reveals some interesting thinking in regard to school security.
The question is an important one for reasons obvious and not so obvious.
We all know that the reason we are talking about the issue of school security is the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Additionally, a proposal in the South Carolina General Assembly lays out guidelines for allowing school staff to carry weapons under a Concealed Weapons Permit.
Our poll – admittedly limited and certainly not scientifically performed – soundly rejects the notion of staff being allowed to carry weapons. The poll appeared on pickenssentinel.com, theeasleyprogress.com and powdersvillepost.com. It asked “What is the best solution to school security?” Multiple choice answers offered by the 42 respondents included:
School staff carrying weapons - 7
Armed law enforcement officers on campus - 13
Metal detectors - 4
Better mental health services - 4
A combination - 12
Other – 2
To us, this suggests that our readers – who typically are, more often than not, voters – reject the notion of staff carrying weapons on campus by a margin of six to one. Evidently the weight of trust among this group goes to law enforcement officers. Not a bad idea in our estimation.
The other predominant answer by a considerable margin in the limited polling was “a combination.” That suggests that readers think the issue is more complicated and needs a deeper look than simply offering more guns in the presence of kindergarteners.
That is why we again support the call by State Sen. Larry Martin for a discussion on the issue of school security proposed in the General Assembly.
Whether the answer comes down to employing law enforcement officers, metal detectors, better mental health services, a combination of strategies or something we have not yet thought of, it is likely to mean greater cost.
We should not allow the cost to affect the depth of our children’s education. School faculty in the state have already suffered layoffs far more than we ever believed possible. Now we can’t allow the loss of teaching positions to support security. We have to find more money for better security.
For those seeing that plea as a opening to suggest that teachers and staff carry their own weapons, they should remember that a mistake by an untrained staffer could be the biggest cost of all.