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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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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Armed officers at schools? Dumb question. With all the school violence and such recent active shooter incidents, I don't think that question needs to be asked.

  • Hpim0045_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Best case, it is a deterrent, worst case, someone able to respond if necessary.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Do crimes occur at schools? "Should armed Officers be assigned to public schools" is a very stupid question...

  • Thinker_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Bump GlockArmorer220

    Have we forgot Columbine? With all that happens in schools today, how can you not have armed officers in every school? At the rate we're going we will need armed officers in nursery schools before long...

  • Geiger_max50


    over 3 years ago


    My kid will not go to a school without an armed officer on site while school is in session period! One armed person (even a CCW) is as effective as a SWAT team at suppressing the threat and keeping it from progressing to more targets... our kids! Until professionally trained law enforcement arrives. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman preaches this endlessly!

  • Cert_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I can't even believe that this is a discussion!!! I thought all schools had SRO's now!!!

  • Prince_hall_max50


    over 3 years ago


    What is there to discuss? Hoff said it best a city as violent as Philly should have them. studies have shown that having them(sro's) helps students better relate to l.o.

  • Martin_milner_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Wow, I cannot believe that in a city that is so violent that there is no protection for the innocent children and teachers. Almost all cities have school resource officer program. It's very effective.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    They absolutely should! Anyone watch the news in the past 10 years?!

  • 375956_401447159923274_1109023972_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    @Retired Cop- the last decent Mayor Philadelphia had was Frank Rizzo

  • Goggles_close_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Th_detective_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Eilene, not too far fetched at all...............

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Our school district has armed SROs in the middle and high schools. Last week we had a 15 year old girl bring a handgun to school and commit suicide in the bathroom. Although tragic, it could have been a lot worse.

  • Fidel_pd_uniform_shot_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I didn't know that the current Philly school system actually had students.

  • 375956_401447159923274_1109023972_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I guess the Philadelphia School system has changed once again. I went to South Philadelphia High in the 70's and we had an armed Police Officer at every exit. Frederick County MD Public Schools each have a School Resource Officer who is a Frederick County Sheriff's Office Deputy and he/she is armed.

    Of course an Armed Officer should be assigned to schools, along with a magnetometer, and a bomb and drug dog. OK maybe that's going a little too far.

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