People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
School Shootings: Arming Police, Teachers Makes Matters Worse
Parkland, Florida was the scene of a school shooting on February 14, leaving 17 murdered and another 17 injured. Since then, many students have become leading activists organizing walk-outs, marches, and protests, and calling out for measures to end mass shootings and criticizing politicians for their inaction and complicity.
Donald Trump, in a March 12 Twitter post, called for more guns in schools by arming teachers and training them how to engage in a shootout. The idea is "peace through superior firepower," to quote the movie "Point Break." And while it may sound catchy, suicidal shooters can plan their attacks and utilize weaponry and tactics which would put an armed teacher at a serious disadvantage.
In a March 14 article, Vox revealed the fallacy of bringing more weapons into schools. One day after Trump's tweet, a teacher, who is also a reserve police officer in Monterey County, CA, was demonstrating gun safety at school and accidentally fired his gun into the ceiling, leaving bullet fragments in a student's neck. On the same day in Alexandria, VA, a school resource officer accidentally fired his gun inside a middle school. From mid-February to mid-March at least three other guns owned by adults were fired in schools: a teacher barricaded himself in a classroom and fired a gun, a deputy shot himself while responding to a false alarm at a school, and a third-grader accidentally fired a school police officer's gun. Four of these five shootings were from the guns of professionally trained law-enforcement personnel, not civilian teachers with guns.
With the uptick in school shootings, some parents have noticed a greater police presence at Portland Public Schools, believed to be an effort by the PPB to deter potential shooters and ease the fears of parents.
One parent wrote Portland Copwatch about a motorcycle cop standing in front of a grade school. "When I asked why he was there, he said 'to connect with kids,' and I mentioned it's hard to do it when your face is blocked by all your helmet and such, to which he responded, 'actually the kids think it's pretty cool.'" The parent called for more funding for child development experts, not "action figures."
As Kai Koerber, an African American student put it to the Miami Herald (March 29), "extra cops around doesn't mean more people to protect him; it means more chances to become a victim of police brutality. Kai worries police will racially profile students and treat them as 'potential criminals,' particularly students of color."
Exposing their hypocrisy, on March 14, a Portland Police car parked in the no parking zone at a grade school, partially obstructing the view of an intersection where small children cross. The two officers tasked with making the school safer and interacting with students sat in the car for 20 minutes, then left.
For more on school shootings and the police see "Rapping Back."
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.