What does it mean to be a School Resource Officer? You are the visible face of authority to both the students and the staff. You wear the uniform and carry a gun, but sometimes all you can do is listen until it becomes a law enforcement problem. You are also a first responder when defending your school from violent attacks. Sometimes you have to act because it is too late to talk. I heard about a School Resource Officer who spoke up at a school board meeting, and what he said speaks for most of us.
This school in Ohio took security seriously. They had plans in place to report problems. They addressed small problems in the hope that they could help before the problem grew too large to manage. They had a group of volunteers who were first responders to an attack on their school. Those volunteers trained together. The defenders had all sorts of jobs on campus. They could have been a bus driver, a custodian, or an office worker. The might have been a cafeteria worker, a teacher, or an administrator.. and since this was a security team, it included the School Resource Officer. This SRO stood up at a school board meeting and got something off his mind about being on the school security team.
I wear a uniform on campus. Everyone knows who I am, and they can identify me from a long way away. If the school is attacked, then I’m probably the first person the attacker is going to shoot. I’ll probably survive, at least for a little while. I’ll fight back if I can. We have a security team on campus. I hope you keep the security team in place, but the day you disband the security team will be my last day at school.
I don’t want to die, but I’m willing to get shot if it means the school is protected. If somebody is shooting me, then that means the rest of the school is alerted to an attack. With that warning, the other defenders can protect the kids. If I haven’t stopped the murderer, then I know the other defenders will. Maybe they will save me, but the only thing that makes getting shot worthwhile is knowing that the kids will be safe if I’m attacked.
It is my job to walk toward the sound of gunfire. The other people on the safety team, they chose to walk toward the gunfire. They are committed to protecting the kids like I am. If you cancel the safety team, then you’re not committed to saving lives and I’m not willing only be a symbol that makes you feel better. It doesn’t make sense for me to get shot, and maybe get killed, if there isn’t someone there behind me to finish the job of protecting the rest of the school.
The SRO stepped back and sat down. I’m not sure if the school board had anything to say. What makes this story special is that the SRO said something. The rest of the safety team has to be anonymous. They can’t speak in public about how they feel. I think this SRO speaks for a lot of them.
The officer said it all. He said that he’ll spend his life to defend our children. Many of us feel that way about our family. Some of us feel that way about our community, but the officer said something more. He wouldn’t waste his life so the school board could virtue signal. I think a lot of SROs and safety teams feel that way.
A lot of us feel that way too.
I heard this story from Jim Irvine, President of FASTER Saves Lives– Buckeye Firearms Foundation in Ohio. I hope it touched you the way it touched me. Please contact me if you were in the room when this SRO spoke. RM