The Daily Gamecock

On-site officers beneficial to public schools

Bullying, drug presence could also see decline


The bipartisan bill proposing that every public school in South Carolina receive an on-site police officer would not only combat the recent tumult about mass shootings in schools, but would also ease many problems that plague public schools, including drugs, gang violence and bullying.

If the bill, which will be proposed to Senate today, passes, the state would provide a salary to officers who are currently paid by school districts, counties and municipalities to occupy schools.

The Newtown elementary school massacre sparked the controversy between state law enforcement and education leaders. This is a necessary change, not only to prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown, but to decrease the presence of drugs and bullying in public schools.

After nearly a decade of steady decline, there has been an increase in drug use by teenagers since 2008, according to a survey by The Partnership at and the MetLife Foundation. With a police officer present on every public school campus, this number is likely to decrease.

Bullying would also be more efficiently fought with the presence of police officers. School resource officers are specifically trained to work in schools, as they provide counseling in addition to security. An officer would discourage kids from being bullies and would help those who are bullied to seek help.

An armed guard at each public school, an idea the National Rifle Association endorsed, would not be the best way to deal with recent controversies; a police officer at each school would be.