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TIMES EDITORIAL: School safety steps comforting here

Posted on Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

If local school brass and law enforcement officials wanted to make a statement that they are serious about school safety following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., they are doing a good job so far.

What’s comforting about their actions so far is the fact that actions are being taken and not just lip service.

Both local law enforcement agencies – Manchester Police Department and Coffee County Sheriff’s Department – have exercises and meetings scheduled with both county and city school systems. These should be done yearly. It’s a shame it took the lives of 20 young students to get the ball rolling, but at least local officials are taking serious action.

But most of these measures are reactionary to an active-shooter in the school. Granted reacting swiftly and efficiently to such a situation is very important. But preventive measures need to be looked at.

Currently, some state legislators are crafting legislation that would require school resource officers in each school building. That’s the same sentiment of the NRA and may very well be worth the cost it would take to implement it.

Currently, Coffee County Central High School and Coffee County Middle School have armed school resource officers on campus daily. Both of those officers are paid through the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department. Meanwhile, there are currently no school resource officers on the campus of Westwood Middle School or any of the eight elementary schools between the two school systems.

The City of Manchester currently does not foot the bill for any school resource officers. It would be good to see both governments get together, just as the police departments and school systems are doing, and implement such security measures and get ahead of potential state requirements.

Taxpayers should be more than willing to pay for the safety of our children.

Maybe it’s something we shouldn’t have to worry about. But unfortunately we do. School shootings aren’t confined to Connecticut or Colorado. Lest we forget in 1998 when Jacob Davis opened fire at Lincoln County High School just 45 minutes down the road and killed fellow student Robert Creson. In Oct. of 1997 a student in Pearl, Miss. killed his mother and went to school and shot nine students, killing two. In the spring of 1998 an 11-year-old boy and his 13-year-old friend killed four students and a teacher in Jonesboro, Ark., leaving 10 injured.

It is possible.  Safety can’t wait.