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Guest Post: Arming Staff within Schools – A Reactive Solution with Increased Potential for Danger?


By Katie Johnson
Guest blogger

Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson

The discussion on school safety is being held at every school and community across the Nation.  The end goal is the same, ensuring the safety of every young child and staff member within the school.  But, how we get there is up for debate.

One of the most common solutions being offered by many is to implement armed security guards or provide weapons to teachers/staff – after all as the NRA said, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

However, even good guys with guns can sometimes inadvertently lead to dangerous situations as we have seen recently in the news:

School Employee Shot During Gun Training:

SRO Accidentally Fires Gun at NY High School:

Security Guard Forgets Gun in School Bathroom

Bringing more guns into schools also creates added liability and potentially higher insurance costs for schools.  Your school does not want to face a lawsuit after one of the teacher’s guns accidentally discharges and wounds a staff member or student!  You may want to review this recent article from Risk and Insurance Magazine:

If schools do decide to implement armed guards or staff at schools, it is absolutely critical these staff members are trained extensively on gun safety and procedures are implemented to help ensure accidents like those above do not occur.

Instead of giving weapons to staff in part of the plan of how to REACT when an armed intruder enters the building, what if schools instead focus (their plans and funding) on ways to PREVENT an intruder from even coming to the school in the first place.

Schools and communities need to implement prevention strategies to identify potentially troubled or at-risk students so they can get in front of tragedy.  Identifying red flags and concerning behaviors prior to a student carrying through with an attack is critical.  As many have mentioned before and the Department of Education’s Safe School Initiative clearly revealed, students don’t just “snap” one day.  School attacks are pre-meditated and planned and over 80% of the time, someone else knows about it.  So, we need to provide that someone else with the tools to tell the right people what they know!  And, once that information is shared, schools need to have clearly defined policies and procedures for investigating the information, sharing necessary details with law enforcement, and effectively intervening with the student.

Katie Johnson is the Director of Client Services and Marketing for Awareity, a leading provider of risk management, incident reporting and prevention platforms.  To learn more visit or

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