Want school safety? Start placing veterans at schools
Like many Americans, I am praying for the Texas families who woke up this Saturday morning without their child, grandchild or niece/nephew. These families have unwillingly joined the hundreds of other families around the nation who will now live with the fact that their child was gunned down inside a school and their child is never coming back home from school for family dinner. This is a hole in their hearts that can never be repaired. I join with the many people in my community here in Philadelphia in saying that school safety needs to be a top priority for every elected official at the municipal, state, and federal level.
When it comes to school safety , I don't agree with proposal of arming our teachers. Teachers are hired and trained to enrich the lives of our youth — not to defend them with a firearm. Every teacher that I've talked to in Philadelphia is strongly opposed to keeping a firearm in their classroom. However, they agree with my idea of placing armed U.S. veterans inside of their schools to keep them safe.
So here's my proposal — we have roughly 370,000 unemployed veterans in this country — 59% between the ages of 25–54. Effective immediately, I propose that a minimum of two armed veterans are placed inside every school in America. Veterans fought for, defended and love our country. Many of them are now back home after serving our country without gainful employment. Let's fix that! Don't you think veterans would welcome the opportunity to continue serving our country by protecting our children? I think the answer is a resounding YES! By placing battle-tested, military trained veterans inside our schools, a couple things would/should happen:
1) Many would-be attackers will think twice about committing a murderous act if they know there are armed personnel inside of the school who are trained on who to look for and how to handle the threat/attacker.
2) I think our young people would benefit from being able to build relationships and friendships with veterans inside their schools. Many young people don't understand what service means or how important it is to our society - whether it's community service to a non-profit, or service to our country in the military. Service to others is an important character trait to learn growing up.
3) In the event that an attacker does get past the veterans checkpoint, the veterans are already on the scene and their military training will kick in to neutralize the threat immediately. In the minutes it takes for police to arrive on the scene, our veterans already on the scene can save lives and neutralize the threat(s).
In addition to placing veterans inside schools, I am calling on the Department of Homeland Security to partner with local, state and federal agencies to conduct security assessments of every school. Let's analyze the best way to to limit every school to one or two entry and exit locations during the school day. At these locations, we will place the armed veterans.
I’m not suggesting this is the end all -be all solution, but it does seem like a very practical and common sense way to keep our children safe. I implore all members of Congress to create legislation called the School Safety Act - to provide federal funding to every school in America to immediately hire veterans to work in collaboration with local police to keep our children safe from further mass shootings. Typically, I am not one for suggesting any type of increase in federal spending because federal spending is out of control. However, in this case, I would support new federal funding to safeguard our children and get our vets back to work. This is a no-brainer.
The time to act is now, not tomorrow or next week - because if we keep talking about this without any actions then we are going to hear about another school shooting - and that's something that no American should have to live with. No child, teacher and administrator should have to wake up and ask themselves if today is the day a shooter comes into their school and guns them down. I think our children, their families, teachers and administrators would feel very safe if we had our veterans inside the schools to protect them.
My name is Bryan Leib, I'm the Republican Nominee for Congress in PA-03 in Philadelphia, PA.