by AJ Gold & Jake Katz
CON: In light of the recent school shootings across the country, WHS has decided to hire a full-time officer to patrol the school.
According to nj.com, the investment for the student resource officer is $50,000. While it is a good idea to have a police officer in the school for safety precautions, to include him on the payroll is not an ideal use of limited budget money.
Furthermore, the minimal need for a police presence in WHS proves why it is an unnecessary acquisition.According to neighborhoodscout.com, Westfield’s crime index is 76 out of 100, compared to Newark which is 9, and Clark which is 68. With Westfield’s index as strong as it is and its reputation for being a safe town, the threat of an intruder in WHS is far slimmer than it would be in towns with higher crime rates that have also employed police officers in their schools.
WHS also has a sterling reputation for safety and academic prestige. WHS has a graduation rate of 100 percent, compared to the state average of 92 percent, according to publicschoolreview.com. High graduation rates often correlate with low violence statistics, which demonstrate the reduced amount of threats from within the building.As far as the financial aspect goes, the school district’s budget is always a hot topic. With demands for new resources as high as they are, the $50,000 chunk out of the budget for a police officer doesn’t address WHS’ top priorities.
While we are happy to have a police officer in the building, the cost to hire him could have been a better investment elsewhere.
PRO: Officer Jeffrey Johnson’s appointment comes at a time when school shootings are sweeping the country and domestic safety is a concern. Getting a full-time officer on staff is imperative for WHS because recently schools have become a more dangerous environment. Students need a sense of security in order to learn to the best of their ability.
School shootings have become somewhat of an epidemic in America ever since the tragedy at Columbine High School which ended in 15 student deaths, according to usatoday.com. According to policymic.com, since Columbine there have been 31 school shootings in the U.S. and only 14 school shootings in the rest of the world combined.
One of the most notable was the shooting in Newtown, CT at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, which resulted in 28 casualties. These numbers are absolutely staggering and just prove that having an full-time officer on duty is necessary.
Many might think that Westfield is a nice town and it is immune to a school shooting, but Newtown is a town very similar to our own. According to city-data.com, Westfield’s median household income is $120,000, while Newtown’s is $110,000.
Not only does Officer Johnson add a sense of security to the WHS community, he is also a valuable resource to the school. Officer Johnson is an alum of WHS and he can provide current students with advice on how to survive high school as well as many of their classes. Overall, Officer Johnson will only help the high school, and is sure to be a valuable asset for all faculty and students.