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School Safety from the Frontlines

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By Emily Childs | News Editor

Keeping the discussion going on school safety is important. Who better to hear thoughts and opinions from than students and a resource officer?

Lauren Windley, a sophomore at Morgan High was one of many students across the country to participate in the school walk out on March 14th. Lauren shared her thoughts on why she walked out, and what she sees as solutions to problems in the schools. She said, “Approximately 2 weeks after the Parkland shooting, our new trimester started. The first thing I did when I sat down in my new classes was locate a place I could hide in the event of a school shooting. A few days into the trimester there was a loud bang from the hallway. My friend and I were startled…it turned out to be nothing…but the tension in the classroom was undeniable.”

Lauren believes no student need fear for their life, and no faculty member should be forced to carry [a gun] if they don’t want to. She’s even taken the initiative to voice her own solution to increased school security. 

“A solution that has been on my mind is keeping outside school doors locked during class time and have each faculty member and student wear an ID card either on themselves, or their bag, that unlocks the door. All visitors should be directed to the office for a visitor’s pass.”

Some school districts have begun installing keycard swipe pads on their doors already. 

Brothers, Spencer and Tanner Belinski, have their own thoughts too. Tanner said, “I would like it [school safety] better if more teachers carried firearms. Also, I think students would feel safer if they know law enforcement will actually go in the school and stop a threat.”

Spencer agreed saying, “public schools should allow teachers to get a concealed carry permit. Not all of the teachers have to get one, but the teachers who want one. I also believe the resource officer in the school should be someone willing to protect the students with their life.”

Resource officers are crucial to school safety. Officer Austin Turner has been a school resource officer for years in different districts. Currently he serves as a part-time officer at Utah Valley University. Turner had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and speak about school safety. Turner explained the issue in Florida is a complex situation. Congress and officials speak of mental health, probation officers, legal judges, and community law enforcement in terms of how to deal with troubled youth. But Turner emphasized before these kids ever stand in front of these individuals they deal with their school resource officer as they walk the halls of their schools. 

Turner expressed his gratitude to Morgan School District saying, “The Morgan administration is taking this very seriously.” Turner has been asked to sit on the new safety committee which will meet once a month. 

There are different sides of the argument. With more security will come more inconvenience and less access for parents and guardians to freely walk into the schools. Turner asked members who may find increased precautions going overboard, “how safe do you want your kids?” 

Turner offered advice on the issue of arming teachers. “As a police officer, I use my handgun the same way a teacher might use a dry erase marker. It is a tool for me because I’ve shot thousands of rounds in training. If school staff wants to conceal, do not tell anyone except the resource officer. In the event of an emergency the officer will only see another active weapon and shoot. You could be marked as a threat and run the risk of being shot if you do not disclose to the officer. If you want to conceal I implore you to find your law enforcement friends to train you until that gun is as natural in your hands as a piece of chalk.” 

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