Plan would disarm police, security guards in local school district

Plan would disarm police, security guards in local school district
BURIEN, Wash. -- A controversial idea to disarm school guards and police officers in the Highline School District will soon go before the school board for a decision as part of a broader comprehensive security review, but not everyone is supportive of the idea.

There are 20 armed officers stationed throughout the Highline School District, and the idea to disarm security officers -- which the district's spokesperson says is one of many options under the broad security review -- would make every school within the district a "gun free zone."

But district spokesperson Catherine Carbone emphasizes no formal proposal has been made and won’t until after the security study is completed and a thorough review process is finished.

New Superintendent Sue Enfield declined an on camera interview but said in a brief email that several “security models” were being examined “and it would, therefore, be premature for me to comment until we have reviewed the proposal.”

The plan might have gone unnoticed in the largely peaceful school district had it not been for the horrendous shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Some 18,300 students attend school in the Highline District, and authorities find guns smuggled into schools a couple of times each year, on average; a miniscule percentage of armed students.

Two days after Enfield and others discussed the concept at a school board workshop in December, the massacre in Newtown happened. But that didn't shake Enfield's resolve. Despite the pressure to back off, the idea of removing guns from school security remains a possibility.

The issue of guns in schools remains sensitive for many, and that could explain why so few people are willing to publicly oppose the gun ban.

The police, PTSA and the school board have yet to take a stand on the proposal, but the Highline Teachers Union on Monday said they will submit a letter formally urging the district to continue arming school security.

While many of the district's adults are remaining quiet, local students are talking about proposed ban.

"Well, I think for safety reasons, they should give the officers guns. Like, for the kids in Sandy Hook Elementary School," said Highline High School student Neyda Cruz.

Enfield has ordered an exhaustive school security study as part of the gun ban idea, and she isn't talking about it until the study is finished.

The teachers union is meeting Monday night and will learn more about the proposed “security models.” The school board has a regular Wednesday meeting. The board president said members will likely not vote on the matter until they have more information.