I do not think that Mayor Keith Summey is overstepping his bounds by putting police officers in North Charleston schools. I do think, however, that Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly is showing a lack of foresight about the world today.
I taught in a school in Charleston County where loaded guns were brought on campus by students a few times. The one time I remember most, the boy was caught hiding in the boy’s restroom across from the library where I worked. The gun held nine rounds.
This was a middle school, so I do not think he went to a gun shop and legally bought the gun. He brought it on campus because he was scared of another student.
I remember thinking the first shot would have been to protect himself, but he might then have panicked and emptied the rest of the rounds at anyone.
Luckily, other students told on him and he was apprehended before he fired off a single round.
Unluckily, one day as he sat on the porch of an abandoned house, he was shot dead by another young man, who was also my student. At this school we had metal detector searches on random mornings as students entered the building. Imagine how long it takes to search over 500 students when almost everyone has something metal in his book bag. On those days school couldn’t start on time. An interruption like this interfered with time spent on task and learning attitudes.
I do not think police officers on campus are detrimental to the growth of our young people. I think police officers enforce the fact that we have laws to be obeyed. They also enforce a feeling of safety much like the crossing guard who safely conveys his/her students across heavily trafficked streets.
I think parents are ultimately responsible for their children. Too often, however, children are sent to the schools to be “raised.” If a child cannot behave and has to be apprehended, he or she must learn the consequences in some way.
It’s too bad we cannot arrest the parents in extreme cases that could be avoidable by proper upbringing. While mental health is certainly an issue, who can say that the entire student body of a failing and problematic school is all a consequence of mental health issues?
I also think that to serve on the school board, each member should go into some of the more troublesome schools and spend a day or two trying to teach.
I think school board members should spend more time being concerned about improving grades rather than losing what control they surmise they have over the school district.
All children should be safe when they step onto a school campus. That should be the first concern.
Mrs. Cannon is a former member of the Charleston County School Board.