The Times West Virginian


January 6, 2013

Are armed guards on campuses the answer?

Studies show that about a third of all public schools nationwide have armed guards on campuses. Considering that there are about 99,000 public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S., as well as 33,000 private schools, that would be a lot of officers.

The Department of Justice says there were 452,000 full-time law-enforcement officers across the country in 2009, the latest year for which data is available. Add to those ranks about 100,000 with an officer in every school.

Heck, it’s practically a jobs stimulus.

But the issue is training, of course. While, again, about a third of the schools have armed guards, there would need to be officers to fill the void in the schools without guards. Pulling them off the streets isn’t much of an option, considering staffing levels in even small, rural areas like our own are an issue, much less large metropolitan areas.

So there would have to be a influx of trained, armed officers. And there would have to be some sort of funding available, which may or may not be a funding match from the federal government. But, you know how that goes. Today, Congress would fund these positions after the emotional and heart-wrenching events in Newtown, Conn. But would there be funding a year from now? Ten years from now?

“My city has 32 elementary schools, five middle schools, six high schools, and that doesn’t include private schools,” Craig Steckler, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, told the New York Times. “My patrol force is 89 officers on all shifts. Where are we going to get 40-some additional officers? I just don’t believe that putting more guns on the campus is a solution.”

Steckler said the IACP instead endorses more control over automatic weapons and better mental-health care treatment for families with issues.

Would, as NRA officials claim, having armed guards in every school in America “protect our children right now?” It’s been quite the topic to debate since the nation is still reeling from the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in mid-December. So we gave our readers the opportunity to weigh in on the debate on our online poll question, which can be found each week at

Last week, we asked, “Officials with the National Rifle Association have suggested having armed protection in schools across the nation. What are your thoughts?”

And here’s what you had to say:

• We can barely afford teachers and education materials. How can we fund more positions? — 12.5 percent

• A “lockdown” mentality with guns and guards is not a healthy environment for school children — 29.17 percent

• Having a police presence serves as a deterrent for a lot of issues at schools. It’s a plan to consider — 58.33 percent

Again, the safety of our children is paramount. We certainly hope that something comes of such a horrific tragedy. Armed guards may or may not be the answer.

This week, let’s talk about food guidelines and federal rules. Is Big Brother watching you put that cheese burger in your mouth? Should he be?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond directly online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor


Text Only
  • Laws to keep mudslinging to minimum can stife free speech

    By nature, and by profession, we do not like lies. As journalists, we’re truth tellers. Or at least we attempt to get at the truth through research, attribution, documents and comments from people on either side of an issue.
    Sometimes it ends up with “telling lies from both sides,” as a crusty reporter once mused a handful of years ago.

    April 24, 2014

  • COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay

    Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.

    April 20, 2014

  • The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings

    During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.

    April 20, 2014

  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads