Armed and Dangerous

Just when you think you've heard everything!

A lawmaker in Nevada plans to introduce a bill this month that would allow teachers to carry guns in classrooms. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

State Sen. Bob Beers (Nev.) says, “it would serve as a deterrent” to an increase in school violence. Many education administrators, including the superintendent of the state's largest school system, are opposed to the idea.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the idea to keep guns out of school?

School security is more multifaceted and involved than having gun-toting teachers patrolling classrooms. The misguided and dangerous proposal, if approved, most likely would not only create an environment that would significantly impede the learning process, but also make security matters worse.

Numerous options exist to create safe schools — on the programmatic side, as well as through technology and systems. Intervention programs, peer groups, cameras, ID and access-control systems, and school resource officers have proven to be effective in improving school security. Thankfully, arming teachers does not show up on most school security plans.

Some of the more successful approaches to providing safe school environments can be found in the special School Security Section beginning on p. 43. Included are effective ways to keep students safe, how to implement and improve campus emergency 911 systems, and product solutions that can help proactively address security.

For those interested in learning more about green design, construction, operation and maintenance, go to http://subscribe.asumag.com to sign up for the free e-newsletter, Green School & University, debuting this month. In addition, if you want to showcase your institution's green cleaning program, e-mail me to receive information and an advance application for a new awards program honoring outstanding green cleaning programs at schools and universities. Honorees will be published in American School & University.

SCORECARD

28

Number of school-associated violent deaths, ages 5 to 18, from July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2005.

55

Number of victimizations per 1,000 students (ages 12 to 18) occurring at school in 2004, compared with 73 in 2003.

8

Percentage of students in grades 9 to 12 threatened or injured with a weapon on school property in 2005.

19

Percentage of students in grades 9 to 12 that carried a weapon anywhere; 6 percent carried a weapon on school property during the previous 30 days (2005).

1.4

Number, in millions, of nonfatal crimes at school in 2004 among students ages 12 to 18.

Source: Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2006

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