Guns at School?


Pictured: Matt Miller, a PHHS Security officer. Photo by Sophie Miller

Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion-editorial.


Security officers at both Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley will be armed, hopefully by the end of October. This is a controversial decision, but one that many students are in favor of.

In the battle over gun control, there are two distinct sides: guns for everyone or no guns at all. People either believe in strict bans on guns or much more leniency. Each side makes sense in its own way, but there are major problems with both, too. The Pascack Valley Regional High School District may have found a happy medium that makes students and faculty feel much safer.

In the event of an intruder, with no guns on the property, students and faculty would be rendered defenseless, a horrifying scenario many have unfortunately had to face; for example, the Sandy Hook shooting, Columbine shooting, Virginia Tech shooting and University of Texas shooting, among others. On the other hand, a school in which teachers all carry guns is a horror story in and of itself, it would be beyond irresponsible to place guns in the hands of just anybody. Teachers are definitely not all fit to carry guns, and a gun in every classroom will inevitably make them accessible to students. Instead of either dangerous scenario, Pascack Valley Regional has opted for a much more practical option: security officers at both schools will be armed.

One would think there would be some hesitation in this situation on behalf of students, parents, and faculty. Many may not feel safe knowing there are guns in the building, but this, so far, is not the case.

Hills principal Glenn DeMarrais says that he is “in full support of our security officers carrying a firearm to protect our students and staff in the unlikely, but possible, scenario of an active shooter.” DeMarrais also said that he has “great trust and confidence in the two professionals we have as security officers. Well-trained and extremely conscientious, they each have over 25 years experience in carrying a firearm.”

DeMarrais explained the reason for this new change, saying that, “Given the number of situations involving weapons is schools in this country in recent years, ‘hoping it doesn’t happen here’ is not a sufficient strategy in safeguarding our students and staff.”

Roger Caron, one of the security officers who will be carrying a gun, was a cop for 34 years. He, like most others is “all for it,” and has been hoping for this to be implemented for awhile. Caron wants to carry a gun in order to protect students, faculty and himself. Caron believes that in the case of an emergency “every second counts.” He explained that in the chance of an intruder, what’s going to save lives is getting to the problem immediately. Caron stated, in reference to an intruder, “I want the ability to be able to stop that the same as I did as a police officer on the street.”

Psychology and U.S. history teacher Kaitlyn Mahaffey reminded readers Caron and Matt Miller, the other security officer who will carry a gun, were both police officers in our community. The fact that these men are trained and worked in law enforcement makes her feel safe and comfortable.

An anonymous teacher here at Hills strongly agreed and said that Miller has saved his/her life before.

Hills senior, Daniel Weiss, voiced his opinion on the situation. Weiss explained that he would “feel safer knowing someone licensed to carry a gun, with proper training would be there to protect students and teachers.”

Hills senior Judy Katsnelson posed the important question on everyone’s minds; in the event of a school shooting: “Who’s going to shoot the shooter?”

Upperclassmen aren’t the only ones who like the idea of this. Max Miller, a sophomore at Hills, stated that he likes the idea of security officers carrying guns and feels much safer walking down the halls of Hills knowing that there is someone to protect him and his peers.

Parents seem to like it, too. An anonymous mother of a Hills student said, “I feel much more comfortable knowing there is someone trained and licensed to protect my kids while they attend school. It puts my mind at ease knowing that they wouldn’t be helpless in the event of an emergency.”

Here is a link to the proposed policy if you would like to read more about what exactly will be implemented.

According to Every Town Research, a gun safety support fund, “There have been 196 school shootings in America since 2013.” Hopefully, if more schools implement the safety measures Hills and Valley are enforcing, this number won’t get any higher.