The Best Defense

When you’re talking specifically about protecting students from an attack by an armed assailant, the best defense may not be a good offense.

A school’s responsibility—and each individual teacher’s responsibility, as well—is literally defensive: to protect students from harm. That’s it. There is no offensive responsibility. Nor should there be any: teachers should not be responsible for neutralizing the threat—and neither should the school. They should focus solely on keeping the students safe—and that can be accomplished with purely defensive measures like the ones at Southwestern High School in Shelbyville, Indiana. (If you’re not already familiar with what Southwestern High has done, you can access the NBC News story here.)

Can these measures guarantee the safety of every student in every situation? Maybe not, but neither could armed teachers. And at least, if the teachers aren’t armed, they won’t risk catching their students in a crossfire.

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