Our Opinion: Security firm plans premature plea to schools

We encourage local school board members to seek clarification of a mixed message being sent by a local security company.

In a news release titled “confrontation planned for upcoming school board meeting,” J & J Security and Investigations LLC announced its employees, who also are district parents, will urge the school board on Thursday to “hire armed private security officers to guard” Jefferson City public schools.

First — admittedly a minor point — “confrontation” is an unfortunate word choice; it implies conflict.

More problematic is whether group members are issuing their plea in their capacity as parents, security officers or both.

In the news release, company owner and CEO Jim Clark said: “We are trained professionals who specialize in keeping people and property safe, but we are also concerned parents. We’re not just anybody.”

As parents, they represent a subset of a larger group of district patrons interested in the safety of students.

As security officers, supporters would consider their plea heart-felt while detractors would deem it self-serving.

As employees of J & J Security and Investigation LLC, their proposal is premature.

The local school board has made no decision to hire private, armed personnel to patrol the schools. If, at some point, they approve the concept, they would be required to seek proposals through a competitive process.

On the issue of enhancing school safety, any discussion on how to do it must precede discussion on who should do it.

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