Would You Feel Safer With Armed Guards Patrolling Your School?
It has not been a practice to have deployed armed guards patrolling the school premises in India. The presence of armed guards in such institutions would send a mixed signal which could have its own pros and cons. Learning should take place in a conducive environment and the presence of guns can deviate the essence of education. Presence of armed guards in the schools could be intimidating and volatile.
A suspicious environment exists among the students when they witness armed guards patrolling the school campus and it would make them feel unsafe.
If patrolling of the armed guard could be a guarantee to safety norms in schools, the incident of shooting at the Columbine school wherein shooters killed 12 students, a teacher and injured many more wouldn’t have happened.
Patrolling of armed guards in the school premises can have a negative impact on the students.
It has been customary in some schools of the USA witnessing shooting incidents among the students. This has led to the deployment of armed guards in some schools, still, the crime has not diminished. The mere presence of armed guards cannot bring down the crime rate in schools or provide security.
Had this been so, we would have not witnessed bank robberies in the presence of armed guards? However, the safety of the students cannot be negotiated.
It is the proper implementation and vigilance at all levels of the school organization which can induce the feeling of safety among the students and parents.
The incident that shook all.
The incident at Ryan International School, wherein a class II boy was stabbed to death was not due to the absence of security guards but the incident involved many factors to it besides the negligence in the implementation of the security system. A uniform security system needs to be followed in all the schools in the country which would reinforce the confidence in the students and parents that their kids are safe and at ease in schools.
What could be done?
Crime and Shootings are rare within schools. A better and technically equipped security system wherein the entry and exit of the visitors are meticulously screened and monitored creates a positive impact on the learners, parents, and community. We can also go for the hiring of trained security guards of an undercover security force to patrol the school without weapons and the weapons be used in case it is required as it would not undermine the learning process and the peace of mind of the learners. Metal detectors could be installed at the main entrance to detect any untoward element entering the schools.
Entry of any illegal element could be traced within seconds through these metal detectors as it is not possible for a guard to scrutinize the intruders through his clothes because at the end of the day the armed guards are also human beings who can protect us for a while.
The need of the hour
- To develop a systematic and comprehensive school-based safety plan in collaboration with the school management, principal, teachers, parents and local education authorities.
- Workshops and training sessions should be planned and organized to train teachers, parents, and students to take responsibility in emergency situations.
- Technology can play a pivotal role in implementing and monitoring school-based safety and security measures.
- The focus should be on strengthening the school infrastructure such as building boundary walls around schools to deter attacks. The safe passage of students and teachers should be ensured.
- Schools should also work on having only one entry gate in the school premises so that monitoring of safety guidelines could be practically followed.
- The curriculum designed should teach the students to be cautious of their surroundings and train them how to act in such situations through mock drills.
Above all, decisions made should be documented and have the consensus through democratic ways to support the role of the school management and ensure that the outcome made reflects the different views and beliefs held by the teachers, students, parents and community members.
Let us create a nation on the concept ‘Self Help is Best Help.’
*This article is contributed by Ms. Preeti Sharma, TGT English, and Sociology. She loves reading newspapers and sharing the current topics with her kids at home and in school. She also enjoys listening to music besides reading the editions of ‘Chicken Soup’.