SC reaction to NRA proposal

December 21, 2012 

Here’s how some S.C. officials responded to the NRA’s call for armed police officers in every school:

• David Blackmon, chairman-elect of the S.C. Board of Education, said “putting police officers or armed security personnel in schools is one step” toward addressing gun violence in schools. It would provide a sense of security.

But paying for those officers could be costly and wouldn’t address all the issues that contribute to incidents of gun-violence at schools, Blackmon said. Mental health and home life are other factors that contribute to behavior.

“Even when you have armed security, it’s a matter of timing,” Blackmon said. “These things are random events. How can the security person be in the right place at the right time?”

• Jay Ragley, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Education, said there are no state laws requiring police officers in every public school, but some public schools already have armed

school resource officers, placed there through the cooperation of local school districts and law enforcement agencies.

Ragley said there isn’t enough information about the proposal to say whether the State Department would consider working with the federal government to put officers in every school. The NRA’s proposal lacks critical details of how it would work including who would hire, train and pay for the officers.

“When you’re talking about security measures, operations and lines of authority matter greatly,” Ragley said.

• Lt. Mark McColman, past president of the South Carolina Association of School Resource Officers, said all school resource officers in the state are armed, but not all schools have resource officers. They’re mostly in middle and high schools.

The resource officers do more than provide security – while on campus they teach, provide counseling, and assist with developing emergency plans.

McColman said having volunteer security guards wouldn’t be enough.

“If they want somebody that’s trained and knows how to handle situations, then every school needs to have an SRO in that school.”

From Staff Reports

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