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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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  • Half_dome_yosemite_national_park_max50


    about 4 years ago


    In this day and age they are actaully asking the question "Should Armed Officer Be Assigned to Public Schools?"


    When is this country gonna get a clue that we (The Police) are not the enemy.

  • Dolphins_fantasy_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Absolutely they should be.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    Wow! They are considering. Clueless!!!!!!!!!!! SHould have been done already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • File0106_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I know the school distract I go to (Indianapolis Public Schools) as far as I know every high school and middle school within the distract has a uniformed officer from the school distract police and we have numerous who do patrol and work with the elementry schools. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think IPS police are sworn officers with IMPD. I am glad that we have our school police at my school and agree with William_Hartford they get along great with the faculty and students at my school and are a great addition to the school staff.

  • N1459748587_179762_1020_max50


    about 4 years ago


    We have had SRO's(School Resource Officers) in just about all of our public schools for years. It is a great idea.

  • Ohio_deputy_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    It is ridiculous what some of these critics to this idea have to say about it all. How could you even say that it would become a "police state" and keep a straight face? Every single school in my county growing up had at least one SRO per building. They were a great addition to the faculty and got along perfectly with the rule following student population. And in the event that something did go wrong, they were there and ready to go.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    Ditto Retleo.

  • Th_detective_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Whatever happened to the concept of removing the "Problem Children" (14-19year old THUGS) from the mainstream school system. I know, according to the Dept. of Education "Little Johnny Rotten" can't have his self-esteem damaged by being singled out like that. Schools across the country have used the "Liberal" approach for years, and "Political Correctness" has taken things to the maximum limits of insanity. Time to start thinking about the majority once again (those kids who are in school to learn in a none threatening environment) and stop worrying about the feelings of the minority (those kids who are a constant disruption to the learning process and who present a real danger to the other kids). Before anyone gets on their soapbox, this use of the terms "majority" and "minority" has absolutely nothing to do with race, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference. It is all about ridding the schools of those kids who cause constant trouble and present a physical danger to the kids, and teachers, who are in school to learn and teach without fear of getting hurt or killed by fellow students.

  • 309


    about 4 years ago


    When I was in high school our city assigned two armed officers from the PD and one from the public school system's PD. Two of them even taught classes every now and then. SRO's have are invalueable assets.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    Where has the Mayor been?????

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Ummm, it is 2011 and Philly is still questioning the need for School Resource Officers?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    They need to give their own police department guns and let them do their jobs. If they are a police department let them do what they need to do and leave the city out of it. Studies have shown that a safe environment is essential to learning. If the kids don't feel safe at school there will be no learning. I would be curious of the statewide test scores in comparison to Philadelphia. Police are needed in every high school and middle school campus. Don't kid yourselves about chosing only the worst schools. Every school is a potential target for terrorism, just look at Beslan, Columbine, Penn., and now Brazil. Columbine was no where near one of the worst schools. Police need to be in schools to curtail violence and enforce the law as well as create positive rapport with the students.

  • Evil_max50


    about 4 years ago


    The first paragraph almost makes it sound like the mayor thought it was a new and original idea. The DARE program was a joke. SRO's more effective in school than DARE officers

  • Robocop_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Yes, we have that in northern Minnesota now. PS: hire more officers

  • Mandy_and_me_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I was a school resource officer for 3 years an although I personally hated the assignment I would be the first to say officers are essential in High schools. First of all they solve numerous issues they free up officers from the street who would otherwise have to respond for a call for service. Second SROs can make major in roads with kids that can result in an excellent source of intelligence. Numerous cases have been closed from tips recieved from SROs. And lastly (at the risk of sounding corny) it gives kids a chance to talk to officers one on one and brreaks down some barriers between the police and community. I think the benefits of a well planned SRO program far out weigh the cons. Hopefully they moved forward with this concept.

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