Last updated: August 22. 2013 5:46PM - 140 Views

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Protect schools;

arm the custodian

How we protect our schools is a complicated issue, obviously exacerbated by the terrible tragedies that have occurred in recent months and years. Jeff Ketcham’s remarks in the Jan. 3 issue of The Lima News begins with his observation that most schools don’t have money to even hire teachers, etc. The point is well taken, so other methods must be considered. It may not be necessary to hire additional personnel for the kids’ protection.

Consider this possible plan (with any necessary local revisions): Arm the custodian. It would be proper for the school to pay for a weapon and the training, but the total cost would be minuscule compared to hiring any kind of “security personnel.”

Why the custodian? The choice is obvious. First, they do not have a classroom full of children as their first responsibility as teachers do. Secondly, they are free to roam the halls and have the keys necessary should the need arise to enter a locked down room or area. Thirdly, unlike the administrators, they are not needed for quick decisions regarding evacuation, coordination with first responders, etc.

In order for any of this to work, each building must have in place a foolproof “lock-down alert.” Perhaps most schools have this or they use the public address system. As soon as such an alarm is sounded the armed custodian would go “on patrol.”

Suppose the custodian were understandably unwilling to take on the responsibility. Then perhaps it may be possible to enlist local, background-checked, licensed, NRA members or retired military to volunteer for such service.

Is this a fool proof plan? Of course not! However it could start a discussion of the problem by local school boards, administrators and parents.

— Loyd Harnishfeger, Pandora

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