Parents group wants armed guards in Federal Way schools

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on February 17, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 17 at 6:26 PM

A group of about 10-15 Federal Way parents calling themselves a "Citizens School Safety Committee" say putting armed volunteers in the district's schools is the best way to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook.

“These individuals would be carrying concealed while wearing a normal school attire,” said Mark Knapp.

They would be trained with their own money and would be required to pass the same competency requirements as police officers.

The idea is triggering controversy.

“No one should be armed at a school, period,” said parent Josh Turner.

“I don't think more protection is going to stop it, I think more prevention,” said parent Adeline Kerns.

Evie Livingston, a school principal, argues they'd be more like vigilantes than volunteers. She questions their ability to make sound decisions.

“Temperaments are varied and sometimes people get emotional and in a second they can regret something they do later on,” she said.

Others agree with the idea.

“We defend our money with guns, why not our students,” said parent Alexander Merz.

Merz says the proposed "supplemental security" can immediately take out a threat.

“If someone brings an AR-15 into a school, harsh language isn't going to defend our students,” he said.

Before they're allowed to step foot in a school, he says they must pass strict skills and psychological tests.

“It’s a serious responsibility,” said Merz.

Federal Way Police already has officers in each high school. It doesn't support armed volunteers.

“We believe we are successfully prepared for whatever comes our way,” said Cathy Schrock, Federal Way Police Dept.

The Federal Way School District says there are no formal proposals to put armed volunteers in its schools.

The citizens group says it continues to draw more support and will continue to meet to implement its idea onto campuses.

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