Gun control is one of the most hotly debated topics of recent years. Gun safety in schools is a huge part of that debate — how should we ensure that children are safe at school?
A few pet parents and activists think they have the answer — guard dogs in schools who can detect drugs or guns and who are even trained to take down threats in a shooter situation.
Two programs are just getting off the ground: School Protection Dogs, started by dog trainer Mark Gomer, whose safety dog Atticus reported for duty this school year at Oak Hills High School in Ohio; and K9s4KIDs, started by Kristi Schiller, creator of K9s4COPs. If a school applies for and is chosen to receive a dog from K9s4KIDs, the $10,000 to $15,000 cost of training the dog will be covered, and the dog will arrive fully trained.
What Guard Dogs in Schools Would Do
What exactly these dogs would do as part of their duties remains up to each school and school district, especially as these programs are still forming. Schiller says the idea came from recent school shootings, and that K9s4KIDs aims to fix “the lack of campus police or sufficient support for the law enforcement agencies” reported in suggestions on applications for police dogs.
Of the K9s4COPs program, she says, “These canines are extremely social, yet highly qualified warriors that are accustomed to going straight to the source of a threat or shooter and disengaging the suspect armed with the weapon.”
For his part, Atticus has won over students, parents, teachers, and district Superintendent Todd Yohey at the Ohio school where he’s been placed.
Questions about how these programs will deal with kids who are fearful of or allergic to dogs remain.
What Do You Think?
Does this sound like a great way to promote safety in schools, or an open door to a new host of problems? Tell us in the comments below.
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