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A school safety task force recently reported its findings to Gov. Mike Parson, calling for armed security in every school, whether school resource officers or armed staff.

Some area schools have mulled the idea of allowing staff and teachers to become certified to carry weapons in school. That would include guns, Tasers, mace and pepper spray.

With the start of the new school year fast approaching, and with recent mass shootings, the idea is again on the forefront of discussion.

Numerous civilians — mostly teachers — testified to the task force they do not consider arming their colleagues a good idea.

We agree. We continue to believe arming school personnel with guns, while well-intended, has the potential to do more harm than good.

One member of the task force was Capt. Kevin Woodson with the Cole County Sheriff’s Department. As we recently reported, he believes having school resource officers in every school in Missouri would be beneficial, but not practical.

We believe school resource officers add a great deal of value to school districts, not only in terms of law enforcement, but in a capacity of role models who can help shape youth toward becoming productive and law-abiding.

In relation to school shootings, they could be a powerful deterrent and a powerful forcing in reacting to a situation.

Teachers, meanwhile, need to be left to teach.

That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t receive active-shooter training. Of course, they should.

One of the most important aspects of such training is prevention. Among other things, this means dealing with discipline issues quickly and fairly and watching for signs that could point to future problems.

Teachers know their students well; they interact with them constantly. They have the ability to see signs such as anger and depression that could lead to violence.

Letting teachers do their jobs and law enforcement do theirs is our best bet to both prevent and react to school shootings.

News Tribune

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