In what’s being described by teachers and students as “a terrifying day,” Waukesha South High School in Wisconsin was on lockdown yesterday after one of the seniors brought a loaded handgun to school. The situation escalated quickly, with terrified children fleeing the building and police closing in to bring the situation under control. But were it not for the actions of a school resource officer who responded to the crisis, things might have taken a far darker turn than they did. (NY Post)
A resource officer at a Wisconsin high school reportedly shot an armed 17-year-old student who refused orders to drop his gun and pointed it at responding cops on Monday.
The chaotic scene unfolded at about 10 a.m. when cops were called to Waukesha South High School for a report that a student took a gun to school, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Cops located the suspect in a classroom and tried to “deescalate the situation,” Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said at a later press conference.
This is still a sad event, though it could have been a far greater tragedy, which means it could represent a teachable moment. While the authorities aren’t releasing a lot of information given the ages of some of the people involved, we still know enough to draw several conclusions.
I should first note that nobody died. The only person who was injured was the student who brought in the gun and eventually pointed it at some of the responding officers, leading to his being shot. But even the student reportedly only sustained what is being described as “minor injuries” so the resource officer apparently didn’t try for a kill shot.
With that said, we know that the student was 17 years old. That means that there is no way in the world he could legally own a handgun and never went through a background check to get it. Whether it belonged to his parents, or he got it on the black market or stole it is unknown. But no gun laws on the books or under consideration would have prevented this.
We also know that this school had at least one armed resource officer on the campus. That officer was able to respond almost instantly after trouble broke out and keep the situation contained while police rushed to the school. Had there not been a qualified “good guy with a gun” on hand, who knows how many other students might have wound up being shot?
When the various states and municipalities are debating laws about having armed officers in schools, they should look to this specific incident. An armed resource officer won’t always be able to prevent every school shooting, but it at least gives the kids more of a chance. The same can be said for willing teachers who undergo full firearm safety and crisis intervention training. In the case of Waukesha South High School (which you’ll probably never hear about on CNN or MSNBC), the outcome was close to the best that could be hoped for.