Voting on Proposal to Have Armed Retired Police in WWP Schools, Monday, July 30, 2018

From Dr. Kani Ilangovan: “Please attend the West Windsor town council meeting at 271 Clarksville Road, West Windsor, NJ 08550, on Monday, July 30 at 7 pm. The town council will be voting on a proposal to have armed retired police in the West Windsor-Plainsoro schools. Many town members are away on vacation and some have given me letters to read on their behalf. If you can come, perhaps you can read some of the letters from the absent town members since we are limited to 3 minutes/person for public comments.

Here is an op-ed that our superintendent posted regarding this policy:

Here is my response:

This proposed policy to put armed retired officers in our schools is not an evidence based approach. There is no good evidence that a regular police presence in schools makes them safer or acts as a deterrent. Please look at The Council of State Governments “The School Discipline Consensus Report” report (2014)– a non-profit, “consensus” report

https://wwpclass3.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/justicecenter2014.pdf

or the Congressional Research Service “School Resource Officers: Law Enforcement Officers in Schools” report (2013)–non-partisan, federal source of research for Congress:

https://wwpclass3.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/crsreport2013.pdf

To learn more about this issue, please also check out:
https://wwpclass3.wordpress.com/

and this article:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/school-shootings-are-extraordinarily-rare-why-is-fear-of-them-driving-policy/2018/03/08/f4ead9f2-2247-11e8-94da-ebf9d112159c_story.html?utm_term=.83f29d08e267

I am deeply grateful to our amazing police force and our wonderful schools for caring for our community, but we owe it to our children to look at the research.

I am also unsatisfied with Dr. Aderhold’s response in his op ed regarding bias in the schools. The Office of Civil Rights has identified that WW-P schools have a fourfold disciplinary disparity to underrepresented minority students. You can see the statistics here:
https://ocrdata.ed.gov/Page?t=d&eid=33191&syk=8&pid=2278

I am concerned that the School Board and Dr. Aderhold have not shared their plans to fix this disparity. I am worried about whether this disparity will be reflected/amplified with law enforcement presence in our schools.

Before we proceed forward, we need to see data to support efficacy of such a policy, a plan for measurement of outcomes to evaluate whether this policy is helpful/harmful, and a detailed plan for the oversight of the implementation this policy. If this plan proceeds, a 5 year trial period is too long.

Dr. Aderhold has identified some positive proposed measures to protect our community including implementing a visitor management system, increased security cameras, lockdown alarms, fire alarm upgrades, increased generator power, security vestibules, implementation of classroom telephones, panic buttons and strobe lights. Why not try these measures first before going to the additional step of having armed officers in the school?

As a board certified child psychiatrist, I oppose this policy to bring armed retired police officers into our schools. I am very concerned about the psychological impact of our kids being exposed to a gun on daily basis. I am concerned about the psychological effects of guns being within the line of sight of elementary age children. Giving into fear sends the wrong message to our youth. It sends the message that they need guns in their lives in order to be safe. In fact, “The rate of firearm-related homicides for U.S. children younger than 15 years of age is nearly 16 times greater than the rates in 25 other industrialized countries combined. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists (AACAP) maintains any and all access to firearms by youth must be restricted, controlled, and closely supervised and that the most effective measure to help prevent firearm-related deaths and injuries to children and adolescents is to reduce the presence of guns in homes and communities.” You can read the AACAP policy statement on “Children and Guns” here:
https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Policy_Statements/2013/Children_and_Guns.aspx

Many more student deaths are caused by suicide, drugs and alcohol than school shootings. Funding would be better directed to hiring mental health clinicians for our students. Hiring 2 psychological counselors for 10 schools is not adequate, especially given the level of mental health concerns in our district.

Let’s focus on the evidence and available research and make the best choices possible for our kids.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: