On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union’s main website posted that school police officers should go unarmed because guns send a “negative message” to students. Senior policy advocate for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Harold Jordan, says that resource officers at Pittsburgh city schools should be forced to continue working without guns, because there’s no evidence that arming them would increase safety.
“Having officers patrol the hallways with firearms sends a negative message to students,” Jordan said. “It makes many students feel that they are being treated like suspects. Places of learning are not security zones or criminal justice institutions, and they should not be staffed that way.”
Security expert John Rafferty said this “makes no sense,” since the school police officers in question are fully sworn, fully trained law enforcement officers.
“We’re not having a debate between unarmed security guards versus armed security guards,” Rafferty said. “These are people that actually can carry firearms, and they’re not being allowed to. When they see somebody with a firearm in school, they shouldn’t have this negative orientation that goes along with it.”