Letters to the Editor

Let's discuss security in FW schools | Letters

Local news broadcasters recently focused on the message I delivered to the Federal Way School Board regarding the importance of supplementing the comprehensive security already provided by the district and the Federal Way Police Department.

Of course, the reason that the comments garnered so much news coverage is because I have personally advocated for the concept of deploying armed citizens with special training and concealed side arms in the public schools.

Some local folks and I formed a committee, School Alliance For Every Student’s Tomorrows (SAFEST). The committee is offering to work alongside existing parent groups like the PTA, the school district and law enforcement to develop increased involvement for unarmed citizens to patrol the schools.

The recent media attention has drawn the public’s attention to something that already exists on a limited basis; i.e., volunteers in our schools that are prepared to lay down their lives for our kids while also protecting the professionals that serve our children in the schools.

Increased attention to volunteers in the schools can help Federal Way to move up the learning curve and gain additional access to training resources that can save lives. For example, Washington law provides for tasers and pepper spray, provided that volunteers receive special training equivalent to law enforcement training for use of such devices in schools.

Ironically, the law only requires authorization from the school district to deploy citizens armed with firearms. Thus, firearms are legally easier to deploy than non-lethal pepper spray and very practical from a tactical standpoint — with sufficient training.

Nevertheless, I am personally grateful to the Federal Way Mirror and the school board for the fact that this very important discussion is occurring.

Mark Knapp, Federal Way

 

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