Layered aggressive defense could work for schools

Published 7:38 pm Saturday, February 24, 2018

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The sole responsibility for school security and safety is local, with our School Board, period.
Let’s face it, societal ills being what they are, action to provide a school’s layered aggressive defense is necessary to deter the deranged individual bent on mayhem/murder and mitigate opportunity for any casualties.
A layered aggressive defense is similar concept to a static military position. At schools: 1) School Resource Officer (armed) on-site; 2) Locked entry door w/school employees controlling access, allowing only those persons w/proper ID authorized entry, utilizing CCTV; 3) “Volunteer” school employees w/concealed carry in school at multiple locations; 4) Each classroom has an internal deadbolt lock to secure door; 5) Classroom barrier plan utilizing desks, cabinets and/or book cases to block door from being breached; 6) Offensive action by teacher/students, wherein “if” an intruder gains entry, every item that can be thrown at intruder, such as books, I-Pads, cell phones is thrown and a “rush” by all to overwhelm intruder minimizes casualties. If there is a fire extinguisher in the classroom, in the hands of the teacher standing near the door to discharge it into the intruder’s face disables/neutralizes the intruder. Anything is better than cringing or hiding like sheep or bunnies in a burrow awaiting the “grim reaper’s” arrival. Lastly, place a sign at the primary entrance “School Guarded by Armed Personnel,” and make this common knowledge in the community.
As for IWCS, in 2007(?) the then-Board of Supervisors gave direction and $340K-plus to then Sheriff [Charlie] Phelps to put School Resource Officers in all our schools. The effect was positively positive in many respects.
Regrettably, Sheriff Marshall in his reorganization of the sheriff’s office in 2012 saw him keep SRO’s only in high and middle schools. This left the majority of our school’s students vulnerable, especially the four remotely located elementary schools.
Pleas to the 2012-era Board of Supervisors to direct the sheriff to utilize all the $340K-plus for SRO’s fell on deaf ears. The $340K-plus has been in the sheriff’s office budget annually ever since, though to this day not totally utilized to provide each school their own SRO. The newly elected sheriff to-be should be required to state their position on this issue during the run-up to their election, due to the critical nature of student/staff security and safety needs.
In 2011, our School Board took its own additional security measure by having all schools’ entry doors
locked from external entry and placed under control of a school employee utilizing CCTV, who allowed only persons showing proper ID or known to them, entry into the school. All other doors were locked from external entry, also. And all doors were numbered on the outside, which allowed responding EMS personnel to go to the proper location where needed, upon arrival at the school.
The time is overdue for satisfactory measures to ensure the security and safety of student and staff in our county schools. Isle of Wight does not need to be the next “NEWS ALERT” of a school shooting in our USA because we failed to have done what is necessary to deter the deranged individual. The illegal gun is always accessible to the deranged. The layered aggressive defense can interdict and minimize their murderous intentions.

Herb De Groft