This turned out to be a particularly oddly timed story to come across after the Synagogue shooting this morning. Someone should probably have a word with the parents and teachers in the Pittsburgh Public School system. At a recent meeting of the school board, a measure was brought up for a vote which sounds as if it should be a no-brainer except for the fact that it hadn’t been done long ago. Should the police who patrol on school campuses be armed? That was the question before the board. And they shot it down (pun intended) by a margin of 8 to 1. (CBS Pittsburgh)
Police officers with Pittsburgh Public Schools will not carry firearms.
The vote at Wednesday night’s board meeting at the Board of Education Building was 8-1.
The only board member who supported officers carrying guns was Cynthia Falls.
“We expect them to possibly take a bullet, but not have a firearm to defend themselves, our students, or our staff,” said Falls.
Another board member is quoted as saying that they “didn’t hear from anybody” who thought it was a good idea. Well, anybody but the law enforcement officers themselves.
So are we just done debating how to keep schools more secure from possible mass shootings? We’re not talking about arming teachers here or even private security guards. These are the cops. And as their union spokesperson pointed out, these are school district police but they patrol in more places than just on campus. They go to events off campus and have mobile units riding around in squad cars. They may be called on for any number of emergency situations. And you want to forbid them from carrying firearms?
The parents and teachers are apparently willing to accept a situation where an active shooter event could erupt and it might be up to five or even ten minutes until armed police officers arrive on the scene. In the intervening time, you’ve got cops on the campus who you expect to rush in and charge an armed killer with a baton? Our first responders are brave and dedicated, but that’s asking a bit much, don’t you think? What this really sounds like is a formula for having more dead cops on top of a bunch of students being shot up.
Congratulations, Pittsburgh. This one is all on you if it goes entirely pear-shaped.