I like this idea!

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
I like this idea!
10
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 1:09pm

Police officers moving their office into the school as a deterrent for would-be attackers. Why hadn't someone thought of this sooner? 

http://news.yahoo.com/police-1-minnesota-town-set-shop-schools-083509496.html What do you think?
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2000
Fri, 03-08-2013 - 6:52pm

I think the comments of your officer were insightful and I agree with him. One officer can not be everywhere at once. If there is a designated office wouldn't someone planning an attack either start there and take out the officer or enter the building as far from the office as possible?

We have large secondary buildings that cover multiple levels and have 1500+ students. In a couple of the older ones the additions have no access to the older section on some floors. You have to go downstairs, down a hall and then back up.How would an officer cover this distance in a reasonable time?  

While the presence of an officer, an office or police car out front might deter some crimes or violence, someone who is mentally disturbed, crazy with anger or just plain nuts will probably not be deterred by a single police officer or an office that may or may not have an occupant at all times. Banks have armed guards and still get robbed. Malls have security in uniform and plain clothes but there are still crimes and violence each day.

Don't get me wrong. An offcer can do some good, but I think we are fooling ourselves if we think that a police presence assures that our schools will be much safer. Some safer...probably, but not totally.  I do think the school officers do a lot to teach and build trust and friendship. That is a definite positive.

Our gun laws allow too many guns in the hands of people who are violent, mentally ill,  just want to remedy a grudge or hope to make a name for themselves. Everyone who currently owns a gun isn't a totally good guy or perfect person who will always use it correctly. At any time a formally good guy can go over the edge and we make it too easy for this person to get a hold of a gun when they crack.

The sadness of your community is felt by many far and wide and it will never be forgotten. Thanks for your comments.

Sherry
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-08-2007
Fri, 03-08-2013 - 12:54pm

I teach high school in CT and I live 10mins from Newtown.  At my high school, we have a full-time SRO police officer in the building.  His response to the Newtown shooting?  "I could not of stopped him, I would have been out gunned and his bullets would have gone through my bullet proof vest."  We need limits on those times of weapons and better access to mental health care.  I would catagorize personality disorders as a type of mental illness.  What ever the Newtown shooters problem was, he was not getting the help he needed. I cannot begin to tell you the sadness this event has caused to this community. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2000
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 9:14am

My first reaction is that this is more PR than a real solution. It sounds good but how useful is an office in a school for all of the responsibilities and interactions that the officers might have to do to actually conduct their business?  Do all schools have extra rooms available? What are the limits of the work and business they do there?

After the Connecticut shooting our schools announced that the police officers would park in school lots to complete paperwork and make calls. They would also walk through the buildings and get to know the students, staff and building layout. I've seen one car one day, one officer in the building once and no officer has ever come into the library to check out our facilities. They are often out front during drop off and pickup when parent traffic is high but then they leave once the traffic slows.

Some of our schools do have full-time officers that are stationed there as a liason and for security from drugs, weapons, bullies, fights etc. These officers have no other daily responsibilities outside the school. I like this idea better. They really get to know the school and the people there.

Sherry
Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sun, 03-03-2013 - 10:38am
I didn't bring up bipolar specifically. You did. You're taking this far more personally than you need to be. I'm not the one who brought up the mentally ill. All I did was read an article about increasing police presence in schools. When I think of the people we need to be protection from, I think of those people I've known with a violent nature without regard for others. I've had students like that and I've had parents like that. And yes, I'm sure there are some people with mental illness who are very capable of being violent. Just because a person has a mental illness, that doesn't make them violent. It doesn't make them not violent either. As far as personality disorders, I think they are far more dangerous. We may not know enough to fix them, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't impose punishments upon those people.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Sun, 03-03-2013 - 10:19am

Shywon, the kids in your example suffer from PERSONALITY disorders, not mental illness.  And yes, some mentally ill also have personality disorders.  My guess would be that those kids suffer from conduct disorder, which can turn into anti-social personality disorder when they are adults.  Perhaps they could be helped, but really, the psychiatric community does not know enough about how to help those with personality disorders.

Please, this is MUCH MORE complicated than just some bipolars not getting help (which would be a separate problem of its own.)

Express!

Beth "Petrouchka"

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 9:35pm
Let me give you my example- I had a student last year who, at nine years old, was already killing small animals. He'd regularly walk into his neighbor's houses and refuse to leave. He spray painted his neighbor's garage. He has his whole neighborhood terrified of him. You can look into this child's eyes and see there is something not right. He will lie to you while looking you straight in the eye. He'll stomp on someone's foot as hard as he can and laugh at them when they wince in pain. This child was never punished beyond taking recess last year. His behavior has not changed. His mother is not quite mentally sound either and his dad is scary. This is the type of person who has no moral compass and would end up planning to kill just for the fun of it. Yet there are no consequences for his behavior as it escalates. We also currently have a fifth grader who has assaulted her teachers at least three times this year. Because she has an IEP, there are no consequences. I've dated someone who I suspect was bipolar, I've suspected my sister is bipolar, and I've had many students on the spectrum. None of them have ever been violent. It's the kids who don't get help that I worry about.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 8:29pm

Let me give you my own example: I am bipolar (serious mental illness).  I also have Asperger's, like the Conneticut shooter.  I was bullied in school.  I was also around guns a lot- I know how to operate a gun and shoot very well.  When news of school shootings started coming up in the 80s- I knew as well as anyone what was driving the kids to it (being bullied is very hard.)  What kept me from being in the national news as a school shooter?  Shooting people was just plain wrong- I could never bring myself to do it unless my life or someone else's was in imminent danger.  Report me to the FBI as a dangerous individual if you like, but I assure you, I am not dangerous.  Nor are most people with mental illnesses.  It is only the ones that have issues with morality who are.  I am as big an advocate as any for more access to care for the mentally ill (I never had an easy time getting to see a psychiatrist, for example), but what most people don't know about us is that the percentage of dangerous mentally ill is no higher than the general population.  Danger is for personality disorders- not bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders.

Express!

Beth "Petrouchka"

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 7:07pm
I agree with you that morality is definitely a problem. I think far too many parents let the tv babysit their kids and don't realize what they're being exposed to. Even stuff that's supposed to be innocent can teach kids that talking back and putting others down is funny. To them, funny is the way to go. I do also think that mental illness is a problem, though. In the past, we locked up the mentally ill. Not that I'm saying that's the answer because I don't think it is, but now all of those people who would have been formerly supervised all the time are integrated into society. It seems like there should be some sort of balance. In schools, I also think that we've gotten away from punishing kids for their behavior and just try to "fix" them now. I had a kid two years ago who was verbally abusive and took about 75% of my attention. I had four more boys in that room competing for the same amount of attention. None of them was ever really punished beyond a day spent in the office, harassing the secretaries. The boy who took all my attention is still doing the same things in fifth grade, even though we've made numerous attempts to change his behavior. He doesn't want to change, and that's the problem. If these kids who are continuously disruptive knew there would be real consequences beyond what schools can give, maybe they'd actually behave and we'd have a whole lot more grown ups making good decisions. As far as it being a feel good attempt...maybe it is. But I definitely don't think it'll hurt.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 6:24pm
Haven't read the article, but this is common practice in some of the schools in DC. Even the elementary schools. Its like really, cops with an office in the building, I would be offended if I had a child there, but its the sign of the times. So sad.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 4:22pm

I hate to be a detractor, but I have to wonder if that is one more "feel good" measure that won't help policemen in general do their jobs better.  Stastistically, school is still a very safe place.  And, the schools I was in in the Buffalo area constantly had cops around and the students knew it.  The public would always know too- as the cop cars were the ones that got the best school parking.

As to what I believe of the recent rash of school shootings, we have neither a gun nor a mental illness problem.  The problem is with the declining morality of the American public.  I think what we need to talk about is ways to improve the morality in public, but that is one solution no one wants to touch.  Sad.

You know something?  If we could improve public morality, perhaps there wouldn't be nearly as many of us coming to this board and justifiably complaining about administrators that do dirt to us and others.