MCAS active shooter training

Michigan City police train for an active shooter inside Michigan City High School.

When considering the best ways to keep our children safe, trained law enforcement officers — not teachers with guns — are the most effective first line of armed defense.

And ensuring more secure entrances, making it tougher for would-be intruders to imperil the sanctity of our schools, is the most effective deterrent.

In the wake of the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, high school massacre and in the shadow of so many others, the topic of school security weighs heavily on our nation’s collective mind.

In a Wednesday article, Times education reporter Carmen McCollum detailed the ways in which many Region school districts are updating security policies following Parkland.

A week prior, another article by McCollum displayed overwhelming resistance by Region teachers to a proposal by President Donald Trump that some educators be trained in firearms proficiency and be armed with guns in schools.

We understand the spirit of the president's proposal and know it has its proponents, including some Region parents who have spoken with The Times.

We realize student safety is at the zenith of this proposal.

But if armed protection is to be considered a priority for protecting schoolchildren, let it be from trained police officers, most of whom have a proven aptitude for confronting armed intruders with potentially deadly force.

Our Wednesday editorial took the Portage mayor's office to task for paying overtime for a police officer to guard the city clerk's office when there is no demonstrated threat to that office's security.

We argued — and continue to argue — that any extra or available police resources be dedicated to school security.

Today, we extend that call to all Region local government entities with schools within their boundaries.

Establishing or increasing armed school resource officers is a better solution than introducing more guns into schools by placing them in unproven hands.

Our educators, in general, are taught to nurture and teach. Shy of those with a proven firearms aptitude, creating a policy in which teachers are asked to carry the means of deadly force doesn't seem like a well conceived plan.

In the Florida case, much has been made of a sheriff's deputy or deputies who remained outside the school building while the gunman rampaged within, killing 17 people.

But news footage of the tragedy also detailed armed officers from other agencies storming the school and running into harm’s way.

The latter example is far more common than the former.

Barricade out the intruders with tighter security doors and policies, and leave the armed protection to the professionals.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Regional News Editor Sharon Ross, Assistant Deputy Editor Andrew Steele.