I recently read the article entitled “Fayette School Board approves assigning rifles to middle, high schools.”
As a student who went through the Fayette County School system and now a Master of Social Work student at the University of Georgia, I find this distressing.
We are at a point in time where the relationship between police and the public is more contentious than ever. What having access to a long rifle in a school setting says is, “We, the police force don’t trust you students,” and unconsciously perpetuates the distrust that is there already.
Student resource officers indeed should offer physical protection to the students should a situation occur. However, they also set an example of what the police force is like and serve as a liaison between the police and the students.
We don’t need more guns in schools. What we do need is to build trust back up. What would be a productive way to build that trust back up is to have consistent access and connection to the SROs.
A starting point might be for the student resource officers to be required to meet with every class in the school at least once a semester to get to know the students, be required to attend orientations, and have a regular meeting at lunch time that is open to the students where they are able to ask questions and get to know the SRO.
What we need to encourage in schools is connection with each other, not perpetuate fear.