This is one of those "double-edged swords" kind of deals. We can see why it's wrong; we can see how it's right.
A school in Norwalk, VA is reporting that in the last year, school security has had to use pepper spray on its students in fights six times. Controversy is spreading throughout the area as parents, school officials and concerned citizens are wondering if this is the appropriate means of intervention when trying to break up a student feud.
This past Wednesday, the school security team used pepper spray on a student who not only attacked another youth, but also came after one of the officers. According to the cop, he had "warned the student multiple times that the spray would have to be used unless the aggression stopped." When it didn't, the official had no other choice.
Guards at both the local high school and middle school are equipped with the spray, known as oleoresin capsicum, but as of this week, the town has gotten together to discuss whether it is really necessary. During the meeting, it was revealed that security officers had used pepper spray a whooping 17 times in the 2009-10 school year, which sent most of the school's parents into a frenzy. City Councilman Paul Riddick, whose son is a student at the high school, sided with the parents who wanted the spray to be pulled from the schools, saying:
"For some reason, it has just come to the public's attention. I think I would have been concerned had I known that in a previous year we had 17 incidents."
Playing devils advocate, a fellow parent of a high school student, Sharon Goretsky, commented:
"I truly believe that is the safest way for security to control the situation many times. [Some unruly students are] out of control and obviously have no respect for authority. They are a danger to all those around."
Good points on both sides, we think. How do we keep kids safe, even from one another?