Arming school police is the wrong response to the Douglass shooting


How might things have been different when an armed man, intent on confronting an educator, walked into Frederick Douglass High School this month if Baltimore City Schools Police were allowed to carry guns on duty? As fate would have it, we know exactly what would have been different: Nothing. Douglass’ school police officer was unarmed at the time of the shooting, in accordance with state law. But his two supervisors were there, both were armed, and it didn’t stop the intruder from shooting special education assistant Michael Marks twice. Nor did the fact that the two supervisors were armed ever come into play; all three school police officers rushed to the school lobby after hearing gunshots, but none drew a weapon while bringing the assailant into custody.

A lot of other things might actually have made a difference in the incident itself and in the level of security students and teachers perceive in the building. The entrance used by the shooter — identified by police as Neil Davis, 25, the relative of a student at the school — could have had the same level of security as the entrance students use, which long had been equipped with metal detectors. The broken locks on classroom doors could have been fixed. Teachers and other staff members could have been given training on how to de-escalate tense confrontations.


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