Surge in number of armed officers stationed at schools

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A report from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated that there has been a surge in the number of schools with armed police on the premises to nearly 50 percent of all primary and secondary schools in the United States.

“Sworn law enforcement officers” are present at 65 percent of secondary schools and 36 percent of primary schools, and most of the officers are armed, according to the report.

The Pew Research Center released a new analysis of the data which showed that, despite some public pushback regarding stationing police in schools, communities across the country have been doing so for a decade, the Washington Examiner reported.

Pew’s analysis was released just prior to reports of a school shooting Wednesday in Dixon, Ill., in which an armed resource officer stationed in the high school fired on a perpetrator, preventing potential injuries and casualties.

According to Pew, “An estimated 36 percent of U.S. public primary schools had sworn officers on site at least once a week in the 2015-16 school year, up from 21 percent a decade earlier, according to the report from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The share of primary schools with an officer present grew much faster during this period than the share of secondary schools with an officer on site, which increased from 58 percent to 65 percent.”

Some officers in the schools wear body cameras, Pew found, and most carry a variety of weapons, including stun guns, chemical aerosol sprays and firearms. Of those officers stationed in primary schools, 86 percent carry a firearm, as do 93 percent of those stationed in high schools.

Pew also noted that many schools have prepared for a shooting, natural disaster or bomb threat.

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