I dated this girl once, (a long long time ago, waaaay before Mrs. Field) who wanted to be a school teacher for all the right reasons. Years later when I saw her I asked her if she was teaching, and do you know what she told me? "Field, are you crazy? I want to live past my 40th birthday. These kids out here are way too crazy for me." And as fate would have it, I thought about that girl today while reading the following story in my hometown paper:
"OFFICER MICHAEL Alvaro was in the right place at the right time to stop an armed-robbery on Feb. 25. Sitting in his marked Philadelphia School District SUV on Olney Avenue near Broad Street, Alvaro said, he saw Tyree Pace, 15, approach three male Central High students with a knife and demand: "Give me everything you have."
Alvaro, 31, a school cop since 2001, called for backup, bolted toward Pace and caught him after a brief chase. But Pace, who has an extensive juvenile criminal record, didn't get cuffed without a fight. He spun and swung the knife at the officer, cutting into his bulletproof vest, Alvaro said. Arraignment for Pace was scheduled for this morning, court records show.
With violent assaults on Philadelphia school officers increasing by nearly 20 percent in the last year, the officers and their union are pressing hard for the right to carry guns on the job. School and city officials have balked at that request in the past, and are reluctant to talk about it now.
But Alvaro — who was attacked one block from where city police officer John Pawlowski was gunned down Feb. 13 — is a strong proponent of the idea.
'We're in marked police vehicles, we're in full uniform, but we have no weapon to protect anybody,' said Alvaro, who wrested a gun from a student outside Turner Middle School several years ago.
'Just by them issuing us a bulletproof vest tells us right there that they are putting us in danger,' added Alvaro, a 1996 graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School. Pace was charged as an adult with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon on school property and four other charges, according to court records. At the time of his arrest, Pace was enrolled as a student at Community Education Partners, a school-district disciplinary school managed by a Tennessee company.
'In harm's way every day' The union that represents the 400-officer school police force has for several years lobbied the school district to allow the roughly 100 patrol officers to carry guns. 'We put these guys out in harm's way every day with a vest, and we don't give them the equipment and the training to do the job,' said Michael Lodise, president of the School Police Association of Philadelphia. 'We're going to eventually have a casualty out here, there's no two ways about it with the climate out here today.'
He noted that officers employed by universities in the city have guns, as do SEPTA cops, and that soon guns will be issued to animal-cruelty officers with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Philadelphia School District officials declined to comment for this story. They issued a written statement contending that only one assault on a school officer in the last two years involved a weapon.
'These statistics do not justify the arming of Philadelphia school police officers....Furthermore, current Pennsylvania law does not allow the arming of school police officers," the statement said.
But Lodise said that that's not true.' They're wrong when they said that," said Lodise. He said that the state's penal code gives school officers the power to make arrests on school property and the same authority as constables, who are armed.
Michael Race, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said that the Pennsylvania School Code does not address whether school officers can be armed."
Well Michael, we will address it here. I am sure that the smart people who read this blog will have something to say about your little problem. Well, actually, it's a big problem. And I can't blame my ex one bit for giving up on her life long dream. Still, I have to ask myself: can I trust one of these officers with firearms? And just what kind of training would they be getting? They are, after all, around children all day.
Oh wait, did that article say that SPCA officers are going to have guns? You mean to tell me that there is a chance that they could put a cap in Fido's ass? You just wait until the PETA folks and all the pet lovers get a hold of this. There will be hell to pay.