Like many Americans, I am praying for the Texas families who woke up Saturday morning without their child, grandchild, or niece or nephew. These families have unwillingly joined the hundreds of other families around the nation who now live with the fact that their child was gunned down inside a school, and that their child is never coming back home from school for family dinner. This is a hole in their hearts that can never be replaced.
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 levels.
When it comes to school safety , I don't agree with the 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 the classroom. However, many agree with my idea of placing armed 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 percent between the ages of 25 and 54. Effective immediately, I propose that a minimum of two armed veterans be 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. 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, militarily trained veterans inside of schools, several things would/should happen;
- Any would-be attacker will probably think twice about committing a murderous act if they know armed personnel inside the school have been trained on who to look for and how to handle the threat/attacker.
- I think our young people would benefit from being able to build a relationship/friendship with veterans inside of their school. Many young people don't understand what service means or how important it is to our society, whether it's community service to a nonprofit or service to our military. Service to others is an important character trait to learn while growing up.
- In the event an attacker does get past a veterans checkpoint, veterans are already on the scene, and their military training will immediately kick in to neutralize the threat. In the minutes it takes for police to arrive on the scene, these are minutes that our veterans 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/exit locations during the school day. These are the locations where 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 commonsense solution 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 so it can immediately hire veterans to work in collaboration with local police to keep our children safe from further mass shootings.
I typically 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 or teacher or administrator should have to wake up and ask 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 of every school to protect them.