Liberals love to use school shootings as springboards for their favored hobby horses, usually more gun control. But what happened yesterday at the South Education Center in Richfield, Minnesota doesn’t fit the narrative.
This high school is part of a school district that focuses on special education, alternative learning and transitional services. As I understand it, many of its students come from other high schools where they have gotten into trouble, so that the South Education Center represents a second chance. It also embodies, perhaps, the ultimate in high school wokeness.
Yesterday an altercation broke out just outside the school building. A student pulled a gun and shot three other students, killing one and critically injuring another. My colleague Jeff Van Nest, a 20-year FBI agent who recently joined American Experiment, comments:
During a press conference on Wednesday, officials identified the two suspects who were arrested as Alfredo Rosario Solis, 19, and Fernando Valdez-Alverez, 18, both of Minneapolis. Gunfire killed 15-year-old Jahmari Rice.
Rice was reportedly the son of Cortez Rice, who is currently in jail for harassing the judge in the Kim Potter case.
Many are now asking whether this tragedy could have been prevented after South Education Center leaders removed police officers, dismantled metal detectors from school entrances, and failed to implement other safety measures after seizing a firearm from a student at the school in September 2021.
The school’s wokeism goes back at least to 2017.
Four years ago, school administrators opted to replace sworn police School Resource Officers with unarmed School Safety Coaches. Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski explained the safety coaches specialize in mental health, de-escalation, restorative justice, and safe physical interventions. Lewandowski believed this “homegrown model” has proven effective by reducing arrests from 65 to 12 during the first year after removing police from the school.
If you stop arresting people, arrests will go down.
Lewandowski expressed concern that police in the school put “student[s] of color, [with disabilities] . . . at a high risk of going through what is termed the ‘pipeline to prison.’”
A large majority of teachers and students support having School Resource Officers–policemen–present in the public schools, especially those like the South Education Center with obvious potential for disruption. But far leftists and the teachers’ union are driving Resource Officers out of the public schools.
Superintendent Lewandowski also ordered the removal of all metal detectors for the 2021-2022 school year “after serious concerns about the racial equity impacts of using metal detectors.”
Contemplate that idea for a moment! Everyone has to go through the metal detector, not just members of one race, so how can it represent racial inequity? The only possible answer is that “students of color” are presumed to be most likely to bring guns to school. That assumption could be true, but what sort of lunacy is required to infer that barriers to bringing guns to school, like metal detectors, must therefore be removed? This carries “disparate impact” to a literally insane level.
More from the Superintendent:
We understand and expect there to be various responses from our school community about this change. Everyone’s feelings are valid. At the same time, we must prioritize doing what is best for students, especially Students of Color, and our values as a school district.
Doing “what is best for…Students of Color” resulted in one of them being murdered and another critically wounded. All in the name of equity.
Yesterday’s murder apparently arose out of a pre-existing conflict among the people involved. As I understand it, the decedent had only enrolled at the South Education Center, coming from another school, a few days before he was shot. If there had been a law enforcement presence at the school, if metal detectors had been in place, would the violence have been anticipated and perhaps prevented? We likely will never know for sure.
Jeff Van Nest concludes:
The questions parents, teachers, political leaders and concerned community members should be asking is whether the police were consulted on the best strategies to protect kids from gun violence in a school setting? How does the school district handle threats of targeted violence? Are the police involved in the threat mitigation process to prevent harm or are police only contacted once a crime has been committed?
The mission of police executives is to prevent gun violence from occurring in the first place. Police have the training, expertise, dedication, and tools necessary to protect our kids. School Resource Officers are a key component in this effort. Police leaders need to be at the table and consulted before changes are made in a school’s security posture. Anything less puts our kids’ safety at risk each day.
As Minnesotans learned the hard way yesterday. But don’t expect to read about it in your local paper, and don’t expect liberal politicians to draw any lessons from yesterday’s school shootings.