Across the country, legislators are considering what should be done to protect children when they attend school. After the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, there have been a variety of proposals discussed, most of which deal with gun control. New restrictions on firearms are not the only ideas being debated, however. In Maryland, one bill under consideration would provide an armed guard in every school.
Under this Maryland legislation, the state’s 1,400 schools would each have an armed police officer in them. Currently, around 400 Maryland schools already have an armed school resource officer, so this would apply to the other 1,000 schools without such guards.
One of the major concerns this bill raises is cost. It would provide around 1,000 new officers at a cost of $224,000 each (for compensation, car, uniforms, and training). That is a $224 million price tag in the first year.
Another issue brought up by legislators skeptical of this proposal is that in some areas of the state, students are wary of police. This bill, they say, would lead to these students feeling intimidated.
Supporters of this bill counter this assertion by saying that school resource officers lead to improved community relations with law enforcement. They also argue that this measure is needed to ensure that school shootings are less likely.
This legislation is part of a series of bills that seeks to address school shootings. A companion bill would establish a threat assessment team in schools to evaluate students’ potential for mass violence, while another would mandate that schools have lockable classroom doors and safe rooms.
Do you think that every school should have an armed police officer stationed in it?