Jul 27, 2014

Arnold Police Chief Says Guns Do Not Belong in School

A nervous Patch parent asks if violence could break out at Fox while Superintendent Critchlow says schools are very safe.

Arnold Police Chief Says Guns Do Not Belong in School

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, some members of the Missouri legislature are proposing that teachers be allowed to carry concealed weapons. In St. Louis County, Police Chief Tim Fitch made headlines when he suggested that teachers be allowed to carry guns. St. Louis County school officials weren't on board with the idea.

Here in Arnold, Police Chief Robert Shockey agrees that guns are a bad idea in schools.

"My opinion is teachers should not be armed," he told Patch. "I don't believe they are trained to handle that."

Shockey's greatest concern was that if someone did threaten a school, he could end up with 20 scared--and armed--teachers trying to protect their students with disastrous results.

"How do the police tell the good guys from the bad?" he asked.

Tight Security

The Fox School District tightened their security measures this week, locking down all exterior doors to school building once the students are inside. Signs are posted on the school doors instructing visitors to call the office to be allowed inside.

Superintendent Dr. Dianne Critchlow said that parents don't mind the new procedure.

"Parents are very understanding and frankly pleased doors are locked. I have not had one negative email. I have received dozens of positive," she told Patch in an email. She said the board is expected to approve a buzzer system for the building in January. In the meantime, staff must open the doors for visitors.

She said the school is having a safety summit one night in January to talk to parents. The district has already talked to the Arnold Police about school security.

Rumors Fly Between Students

However, the heightened police presence at schools has sparked fear and rumors of more school violence among the students. One Patch reader informed us that his children thought the police had come to arrest a student for bringing a gun to school.

Critchlow assured Patch that no one has tried to bring a weapon to school.

Arnold police said they are following up on any rumors of school violence, but so far they are just that--rumors.

"We have a School Resource Officer there everyday," said Major Nick McBroom. He said that SRO officers are assigned to both district high schools and the middle schools. Their jobs are to provide a positive police presence in the schools and to handle disturbances.

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