The Broward School District's security cameras did not provide real-time video for police during the Stoneman Douglas school shooting. An outdated radio system provided further confusion as officers tried to find Nikolas Cruz.
As assistant principal at Loch Raven High School, I was the School Resource Officer liaison when the SRO program began (“School resource officers can help prevent shootings,” Feb. 16). The SRO is highly effective, not just as a security guard, but as a valuable resource in many areas. The SRO interacts with students, faculty and the community to facilitate a safe and secure learning environment.
Regarding the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, there was a complete failure on the part of the FBI, the police, the school and the community in preventing the shooter from acting. At the school level, one SRO was clearly insufficient to protect a school of 3,300 students and faculty. He never encountered the shooter. Moreover, the layout of the school prevented adequate securing of entrances. Did security cameras indicate the presence of an approaching intruder (who had been banned from campus due to expulsion) carrying a large bag? It may be irrelevant in this case, but did fire alarms spray purple dye on the person pulling the alarm? This is a deterrent in that regard.
In addition to school resource officers, school staff and administrators, Baltimore County Public Schools employ psychologists and pupil personnel workers who often intervene or act to effectively thwart potential acts of violence. In the case of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, it is troubling that his mother chose to remove him from the one entity — the school — which may have had the services to help the kid. As for Parkland’s Nikolas Cruz, his expulsion eliminated services of that nature, unless he was in a alternative school.
To prevent school shootings, schools need to be "hardened" against threats (as they are in Israel). Adequate armed security must be present and vigilant. Closed circuit TV must be extensively employed and monitored. Potential threats must be identified by students, teachers, administrators, the community and the police and services as mentioned previously should be employed. That leaves the debate on mental health and gun control to the politicians. But security begins at the target.