ACLU: School Police Should Not Be Armed

ACLU: School Police Should Not Be Armed
photo from youthvoice.comweb photo

While the American Civil Liberties Union sometimes sides with gun rights advocates when it comes to Second Amendment issues, other times they’re on the opposite side of the table.

This story from guns.com says the ACLU has spoken out against school police being armed via an opinion piece written by Harold Jordan, senior policy advocate of the organization's Pennsylvania chapter.

The piece centers on the issue of whether or not to arm the currently unarmed school police officers in Pittsburgh.

“Having officers patrol the hallways with firearms sends a negative message to the students,” Jordan writes in the piece. “It makes many students feel that they are being treated like suspects. It can have an intimidating presence and can contribute to negative attitudes about police, in general.”

(As if the mere presence of a police officer in tactical gear and body armor wouldn't do the very same thing.)

The story says two years ago the city's Federation of Teachers executive board adopted a resolution that argues for the arming of school police, and that a recent editorial in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called for the same.

Pittsburgh school police officers receive the same training, including firearms training, as municipal police do, the story says, and they are often the first responders to dangerous situations, the story says, and the argument is that arming them would enhance school safety.

Jordan says the primary concern should be the relationship between the unarmed officers and the school communities, and not their ability to respond to an emergency requiring the use of a gun, which he says are rare.

“Having an armed officer stationed in schools has neither prevented nor stopped ‘active shooter’ incidents,” Jordan writes. “It did not at Columbine High School nor has it elsewhere. Thankfully, these tragic situations are still rare in schools…Places of learning are not security zones or criminal justice institutions and they should not be staffed that way.”