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Should Armed Officer Be Assigned to Public Schools?

Should Armed Officer Be Assigned to Public Schools?

Philadelphia Inquirer via YellowBrix

April 09, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey are discussing a proposal to put armed city police officers in some schools as part of a comprehensive plan to improve safety and security for the 155,000 students enrolled in the Philadelphia School District.

“We can’t ignore the fact that we have a problem, and we have to regain control of the schools,” Ramsey said.

The discussions on remedying school violence took place last week, as The Inquirer was publishing a seven-part series, “Assault on Learning.”

The series detailed brutal attacks on students and teachers – thousands of assaults are recorded annually – and raised questions about whether the district’s incident-reporting system was understating the violence. Articles also showed how student-intervention programs pushed by Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman and districtwide antiviolence efforts have been ineffective.

The School District issued a statement Friday saying it was “working closely with the Philadelphia Police Department and the office of Mayor Nutter to discuss ways to provide safety in our School District. It is an ongoing partnership, and we look forward to continued discussions.”

Both Nutter and Ramsey think that the Police Department should be in charge of school security and that putting city police in the schools is one way to help curb violence.

“There’s no question, that’s where they’d [Nutter and Ramsey] like to go,” Mark McDonald, the mayor’s press secretary, said Friday.

The Police Department began exercising more authority over district safety last summer, when it lent Inspector Myron Patterson to the district to replace safety chief James B. Golden.

Critics said increasing the police presence in the schools won’t solve the problem of violence.

“It’s not the appropriate response,” said Shelly Yanoff, executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth. “It does not work.”

Yanoff said she hoped “there is a full approach that deals with improving school climate, behavior treatment for kids who need it, and adopting with fidelity those approaches that have been researched and are shown to work.”

Michael Lodise, president of the School District police officers union, also questioned the idea.

“What is that going to solve?” he asked. “My guys are trained in dealing with these kids. I do not see any usefulness in it.”

Lodise complained this week that the district, as part of budget cutbacks, wanted to lay off 163 school police officers out of the 635 full- and part-time members of the force. District officials declined to confirm that figure.

“They want to cut 163 of my people and put in city cops, which they are short of on the street anyway,” Lodise said. “I don’t understand that.”

Others, including City Councilman Jim Kenney and Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, supported the idea.

“Knowing Charles H. Ramsey and his ability, and the talent of his top commanders,” Kenney said, “I’m confident they can come up with a plan to improve safety in city schools.”

Jordan said he had been a teacher at University City High School in the 1980s when police officers were stationed in schools.

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  • Troy-polamalu_max50


    over 3 years ago


    i'm all for SRO's being armed; SRO's are cops period and cops carry guns.....pretty basic and elementary I think

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago



  • Life_giving_sword_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    We already have officers in our middle and high schools, they are "resource" officers for the kids and it is great! Great opportunity for the officers to educate our young children while being present to intervene when neccessary. These young children need to respect our law enforcement officers and also realize they are not the bad guys, they are doing their jobs. There is a lot more going on in schools then there used to be and it is a great use of government money to help protect our schools and build relationships.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Without a doubt, YES! If the general public only knew what was going on in schools on a daily basis they would be shocked and mortified. The incidents that the media make public are only the tip of the iceberg. Basically, schools are a microcosm of our society.

  • __65_or_so_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I was the first "SRO" in my city. That year I walked into the high school and faced a crowd of students and teachers wondering what would I do IF? It was thought I would be heavy handed and a tyrant. I got to know the kids and the faculty and had a great time. Yes, they were surprised when I made the first arrest in the building. The next day I walked in and everyone asked why I was mad the day before. I told them I was not but that was business. From that day on, I was a friend that could joke with them, and tell them to get it right without hearing the race thingy. My high school was mostly black and I was an old white haired cop. I had the kids come to me after a shooting happened off campus and THEY told me about who was involved and why. Dectectives had the shooters in custody within twelve hours of the incident. One summer, I was responding to a call with a shift officer and when I got there the kids were giving him a hassel and he was dishing it back. They saw me and came to complain that he was picking on them. I asked about the call and who was going to beat them up. They did not know how I knew as they told no one, but one of the kids called dispatch. I told them to listen and not jump up and want to get all uppity. When they realized the first officer thought they were the bad guys, they apologized to him. That cop never forgot that all I did was get out of my cruiser and calmed the situtation.
    I was in the school for my last seven years of my career and made many friends. Students, faculty and parents. I retired in '04 and still get emails from those kids. One of the kids I took to court, I also helped out asking the judge to continue the case until graduation (7 months later)and he did. That kid emailed me recently that he was in the army and a Military Police S/Sgt. One of my kids is a cop in another city and hoping to get into the SRO program there. Yes, even the ones I locked up still write. For them, they got to see a person, not an image. They learned that cops have families and feelings just like they do. I taught them and they also taught me. All the SRO's I know love the job. YES, SRO's should be in the schools. They should be in full uniform. After all, where in your jusridiction is the biggest collection of citizens during the school days.?? And don't they deserve the safety and security we give to home owners? BUT, the SRO has to be able to be their friend but be able to do the job when it is called for. My kids found that out and respected me for it. I will tell everyone, it was the hardest job in Law Enforcement that I ever loved. I went to a football game a couple years after retirement and the kids still came up to me asking me questions about the law and how I was doing and if I was coming back.
    Yes, it is worth it and yes, it is necessary.

  • Robocop_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Armed officers should definitely be in our schools. There was a shooting at the college I was attending a year ago, and 2 people were killed. This unfortunate economic climate is forcing some bad decisions to be made about laying off officers, and failing to hire additional officers. This is the time when police are needed the most, because people are becoming more and more desperate. The bottom line is that students now hold the potential for much more violent behavior than in the 70's 80's and 90's.

  • 474305986_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I just want to say that I'm an SRO in a High School, and I would not work in a school without being armed. Kids are not kids anymore they are young adults and do adult crimes. Shelly Yanoff you should come to my school and see how I work. In the 3 years I have been in the school, it went from fights and drug deals to some thefts now, only because I am there and I dont kiss the kids or the school's A@@. I treat everyone the same if you step out of line you get locked up, because of that reputation I have gained the trust of the students, and they trust that I have their best intrest at heart. School Policing is proactive not reactive. Kids need to kbnow that there is a punishment to go with their crimes, not a hug and a pat un the butt.

  • Patch_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Hell Yes,
    Try teaching in a school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Those guys not only need a gun, but full body armor wouldn't hurt either.

  • Jack_bauer_max50


    over 3 years ago


    So wait, they have state certified police officers working the schools who are already UNarmed?? That's nuts, as an SRO, if they took my gun away, I would turn in the rest of my gear and equipment along with it. Job or not, I didn't sign up to be an armed hall monitor.

  • Policememorial---a_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Absolutely! Every school, college and university in this country needs to have an armed, dedicated police presence on campus. Not only because of the massacres like Columbine, VA Tech and Northern Illinois, but because our schools, colleges and universities are incredible open access "everyone is welcome" soft targets for terrorists or a nut with a gun. After all, every one of those campuses are supposed "gun free zones". At least until the bad guys show up and start shooting that is...

  • 48n02-2-9_22-6__max50


    over 3 years ago


    Absolutely yes they should.

  • Me2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Yes. They should. The school I go to, we don't have a SRO (School resource officer) which is an armed LEO contracted from the sheriff's office or city police. We don't have a big problem like other schools but it would give me a piece of mind that there is someone there. But yes, ESPECIALLY THERE.

  • 183974_10150146586172640_115059992639_7801208_7665591_n_1__max50


    over 3 years ago


    I am going to say YES!!!! Absolutely, I would never ask or volunteer to work the schools in my area if I wasn't armed... Kids these days have more fire power than we do, so I think it is a stupid thing to debate about... Safety first... I would rather be judged by six than carried by twelve...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Very interesting article...I vote YES!

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