Local LancasterOnline reporter has a thoughtful and balanced article in today’s online edition about this week’s Community Forum focused on security on Octorara Area School District’s Highland Road Campus.
The forum, sponsored by the Octorara School District, gave parents, residents, teachers and district support staff a chance to air their views on whether the district should accept state grant money and hire an armed guard to patrol the district’s four buildings and multiple parking lots and athletic fields.
According to Wygent’s article, twenty-three parents spoke in favor of hiring a guard while just two residents, including Parkesburg native David Jones, spoke out against the idea.
Those in favor of the proposal argued that Octorara being a rural school district was vulnerable to attacks like happened at Nickel Mines and Newtown and that the five to 8 minutes local or State Police would take to respond to such an emergency was too long. An armed and trained security officer who was familiar with campus and knew the campus layout could respond quicker and more effectively, they argued, than police on patrol could.
Opponents of the armed security guard, while outnumbered, were just as passionate in their opposition to the idea. David Jones wondered out loud what message an armed guard on Campus would send to students and suggested a guard would, “add an element of violence, not safety,” to campus life.
Keep up to date on this ongoing debate by reading Debbie’s article on LancasterOnline here and express your opinion in a comment below; Should Octorara hire an armed security guard to patrol campus? Why or why not?