The Uproar

District Moves to Hire Armed Guards

Two new full-time School Resource Officers will soon be introduced to NASH and NAI

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Richard Yan, Editor

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Over the last year, while the nation has shifted significant attention to gun control amidst a wave of school shootings, schools have also been busy taking student safety into their own hands. Since the beginning of the year, the NA school board has been deliberating the best plan of action. And after an intensive period of surveying and observing, the district has decided to bring armed Student Resource Officers, or SROs, into both NAI and NASH.

“Given the size of our district, we felt it was an appropriate time to incorporate SROs into the safety and security measures,” district PR specialist Emily Schaffer said.

“I think it’s a great idea. It’s surprising that we don’t have one already after all that’s happened at other schools.”

— Quinn Rodak, junior

According to NASH Principal Dr. Kreider, many other security ideas were also considered, including installing metal detectors and furthering response team training. However, a SRO was particularly attractive because of the human aspect. While a metal detector can’t offer emotional support or give career advice in law enforcement, a full-fledged police officer certainly can, and there’s hope that students will perhaps also see the police in a better light than the extreme cases often portrayed in the media.

“I think it’s a great idea,” junior Quinn Rodak said.  “It’s surprising that we don’t have one already after all that’s happened at other schools.”

The district is seeking to find experienced, local, and outgoing candidates. Schaffer specified that candidates must currently be from the McCandless Police Department and that NA will conduct interviews with the police chief, candidates themselves, and also school staff to ensure good SROs are chosen. There will be an emphasis on diversity, to ensure that no student will feel uncomfortable with the new officers in that aspect. District administrators are confident that this is a solid entry plan  and will closely monitor community response and make any necessary changes.

And once they’re here, expect to notice them. Kreider has specified that this is “100% not a desk job,” and officers will be noticeable walking around the school and interacting with students. In addition to patrolling the school and carrying a firearm, additional duties of SROs include recognizing potential vulnerabilities in the school, assisting the safety team, offering professional development, and building relationships with students and the community as a whole.

“We ultimately want another figure in our schools that students are comfortable approaching,” Kreider said. “We currently have the TIPS line and other options to report concerns, but we’re hoping that this will be a tangible resource people can put a face to.”

As of now, SROs will be introduced only to the two high schools. However, there will be talk of expanding the program to middle and perhaps elementary schools as well, depending on how the implementation goes here.

Kreider is eager to get started. “The earlier we get started, the sooner we can get more data and info on the effectiveness of the program,” he said. “If everything goes well, we can expect to see them here at the beginning of next school year.”

 

About the Writer
Richard Yan, Editor
Richard Yan is a senior and longtime student at North Allegheny. He was born in Pittsburgh but has travelled quite extensively all over the world. In his spare time, Richard enjoys reading and playing the piano. He also plays table tennis and leads the Table Tennis Club at NA. Some of Richard’s academic interests include...
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