Superintendent Higgins explains his stance on arming teachers

Police+cars+outside+Maize+South+High+school+on+Mar.+8+after+receiving+a+call+about+an+active+shooter.+The+information+about+the+active+shooter+proved+false.+Photo+by+K.+Angle

Police cars outside Maize South High school on Mar. 8 after receiving a call about an active shooter. The information about the active shooter proved false. Photo by K. Angle

BY JENNY VO & KAYLYN FISCHER

The school shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida last month and the recent threat that was received at South on Mar. 8 has encouraged Superintendent, Chad Higgins, to address the controversial topic of arming teachers. On Mar. 12, Higgins sent an email to all teachers in the Maize school district explaining his viewpoint.

The major topic of conversation among our leadership team is school safety,” Higgins said. “I have received numerous suggestions and expressions of concern during the past few weeks.”

On Mar. 7, Higgins met with his Student Advisory Team, made up of students from all three high schools, to discuss ideas relating to the safety of schools. He also met with the Maize Board of Education seeking the same information.

“My goal was to collect their input on the current status of our security measures, concerns they have, and ideas to improve the safety of students and staff members,” Higgins said.

When the topic of teachers having the possession of arms, Superintendent Higgins was not fond of the idea.

“We have teachers who are absolutely amazing at their profession of educating children,” Higgins said. “Asking them also to be armed security guards and potentially fire a weapon at another person, possibly another child, is something they likely never considered when entering this profession. As a society, we need to recognize and contemplate what it means essentially to ask our teachers to be our students’ bodyguards.”

The email also stated other safety protocols including a new system named Speak Up! that allows students to anonymously submit information about potential threats. Students can submit a tip through text messages or a safe website. The website and number to text can be found on the district website.

“We all must continue to be diligent about building access and delivering the message to everyone that if they ‘see something, say something,’” Higgins said. “Our new Speak Up! system creates an ideal format for this, and I hope we can promote it further.”

Higgins is working alongside the Maize Board of Education members to come up with more solutions to keep the students and staff of the district safe.

“We are in a time when must maintain a heightened sense of diligence, and we never can assume that ‘this won’t happen to us,’’’ Higgins said. “Please don’t hesitate to communicate thoughts or concerns and encourage students to do the same.”

 

Police cars outside Maize South High school on Mar. 8 after receiving a call about an active shooter. The information about the active shooter proved false. Photo by K. ANGLE

Police cars outside Maize South High school on Mar. 8 after receiving a call about an active shooter. The information about the active shooter proved false. Photo by K. Angle