A 62-year-old gunman pointed a .380 semi-automatic gun in a Tennessee Principal’s face yesterday. The School Resource Officer (SRO) drew her gun and shielded the Principal’s body with her own.
The principal, Melanie Riden, was able to flee the area. The SRO, Sheriff’s Deputy Carolyn Gudger, lured the gunman into the empty high school cafeteria — a more contained location. Minutes later, additional officers arrived. The male pointed his gun at the officers. They shot and killed him.
Read the full story: Gunman killed at Sullivan Central (High School in Blountville, TN).
Just yesterday, I wrote about SROs being mischaracterized in an article entitled, “America’s real school-safety problem.” I challenged the positions put forth by academician Aaron Kupchick, who espoused what I consider to be an anti-police/anti-SRO/anti-school security message. Kupchick wrote a recent book entitled, “Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear,” which is critical of SROs and other school security measures.
I have also written recently about, “Education Department Redefines School Safety, Downplays Violence,” where the U.S. Department of Education has redefined school safety to push “violence” to the back burner as the Department goes on overkill with bullying, school climate, “incivil” behavior, and climate surveys.
Principal Melanie Riden didn’t need a climate survey when a man pointed a gun at her face at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, TN. She and her kids needed their School Resource Officer. And that police officer, Deputy Carolyn Gudger, was there for them, risked her life for them, and most likely saved some lives in the process.
Educators and students cannot afford to allow Ivory Tower academicians and D.C. politicians to skew the definition of school safety, or to skew federal policy and funding for school safety.
School safety must include conversations on, and resources to deal with, violence. SROs, school police, and school security cannot be summarily dismissed. And we should not apologize for wanting and/or having them in our schools
They didn’t need a climate survey, anti-bullying program, or lecture on “incivility” yesterday morning at Sullivan Central High School. They needed a cop. And thank God there was one right there in the school when the need struck so quickly.
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