To the Editor:
This past Wednesday, the Board of Education voted 7-2 to place armed guards at District 18 schools. Though many board members expressed reservations, including to NBC News, it passed.
I am submitting this letter as a child advocate and as a pediatric nurse practitioner withe certification and expertise in pediatric mental health. I am a parent and a community member. I have many friends and family in the teaching profession. I make my decisions based on data, not emotions. At the same time, it is impossible not to be emotional about children blown to unrecognizable bits. As a former pediatric critical care nurse, I have taken care of young gun violence victims, but have not been forced to bear witness to a massacre, as first responders have been.
I think after the tragic massacre in Uvalde, our immediate reaction is “do something, anything.” That something should not be armed guards at school. There is zero evidence that armed guards make schools safer, and plenty of evidence that they do NOT. The recent mass murderer in Buffalo was not deterred by an armed guard. This is anecdotal, but typical.
Placing armed guards in District 18 schools would be expensive and in no way is a solution to mass murders in school or elsewhere, and it would be a daily reminder to children that they are not safe. No one will be safe anywhere until gun laws are passed to ban assault weapons, enforce waiting periods and background checks.
Further, teenagers do not have developed frontal cortexes. This is the part of the brain responsible for judgement. They cannot control their impulses. They have no business owning lethal weapons.
Parents, teachers and school administrators who really want to protect children should relentlessly advocate for these changes.
Armed school guards are not even a bandaid, much less a solution.
My letter with this information as well as links to studies was submitted to the BOE before Wednesday’s meeting. It was not even mentioned in the discussion that night.
APRN (active); Faculty Yale School of Nursing (Retired); Member, CT Against Gun Violence,