Editorial: Focus should shift to school protection

It’s a debate that’s been in the backs of the minds of many for several years, tragecelly brought to the forefront in December when 26 people – including 20 children – died at the hands of a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and fueled intense emoti...
Jan 20, 2013

It’s a debate that’s been in the backs of the minds of many for several years, tragecelly brought to the forefront in December when 26 people – including 20 children – died at the hands of a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and fueled intense emotions of both praise and scorn this week by President Barack Obama’s executive order.

It’s gun control, and regardless of how anyone feels about the issue, maybe it’s the wrong approach.

Certainly the argument can be made that shootings happen in locations and venues of all kinds, not just schools. One example is a movie theater shooting in Denver during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Certainly some of the approaches Obama takes in his executive order to Congress this week make sense without limiting weapons sales. More background checks, more prevention measures in place for those with mental illnesses and a federal database created to track gun sales all have little to do with placing limits on the type of guns or accessories someone can buy. But they do make good sense.

There’s a clear and direct division on this issue, but one approach to passage of legislation should be intensified focus. That direction should be toward the protection of our children while they are in school. Few would argue this is necessary following incidents at Coloumbine or Newtown, for example.

It appears even the Tennessee General Assembly agrees the focus should be directed toward school safety. But even members of the state legislature have varying opinions on how that should be accomplished. Some advocate arming teachers while others look to requiring a school resource officer be assigned to each school.

It’s our opinion, an SRO at each school just makes good sense, and we have used space on this page in the past to applaud leaders in Lebanon and Wilson County, past and present, who are trying to get this accomplished. It’s a daunting task given the cost and staffing hurdles that have to be crossed, but it’s one we feel will see completion in the near future.

We have watched the SRO plans first furthered most recently with funding support to place them in Lebanon elementary schools. Next came plans to place SROs in all schools in Lebanon and Wilson County. Another hurdle in that direction came Thursday with plan approval coming from the Wilson County Budget Committee. The next obstacle in its way will be the Wilson County Commission, but already it appears the momentum is building with every passing day until the commission next meets Jan. 28.

Clear and concentrated focus on school protection is the best approach, and SROs are the best way to accomplish it.
Maybe both our state and federal leaders should take a few tips from our local folks on how to come together quickly to fill a need. Maybe we’d all be better off in the long run.

 

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