RBHS SRO reacts to Parkland, Florida resource officer who failed to enter school when shooting started


Be prepared: Students rush out of the school during an intruder drill Oct. 23. These drills are in response to school shootings in the United States. Photo by Alice Yu.

Jordyn Thompson

After investigating what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the day Nick Cruz allegedly came into the school and killed 17 students, the Washington Post reported that school resource officer Scot Peterson, didn’t go into the building during the shooting.
RBHS Resource Officer Keisha Edwards believes it’s her job to put student safety first in these situations.
“You guys run out of the building, my job is to run towards the threat that’s what a police officer is trained to do, stop the threat.” resource Officer Keisha Edwards said. “A lot of times, I am at training and out of the building [I worry about] what happens when I am not here. I think we should have two [resource officers] just to have another pair of eyes to watch the kids and staff.”
In light of this school shooting, Columbia Public Schools are examining their security and search for ways to stop intruders from entering the premises. For instance, administrators are paying close attention to unlocked and propped doors.
“We are starting to question everything from our buzzer system, open campus, mental health resources to law enforcement-everything,” assistant principal Dr. Tim Baker said. “We are recommending to the board to decrease our fire drills and increase weather and A.L.I.C.E  drills.”
Students, too, question the school’s security and the role of the SRO in light of the incident in Florida.
“I think it wasn’t fair to all of those students to lose their lives to a while their resource officer stood outside because it was his job to protect those kids,” said junior Rashavon Whittaker,” I just don’t understand why he didn’t go inside.”
Officer Edwards said her role is, first, to protect students and faculty, but she said to do this she must spend time connecting with students gaining their trust and making them feel safe.  
“That is why everyone calls me Keisha instead of officer Edwards,” she said. “That builds a relationship and bond so that pushes me on the same plate as you guys. Building a relationship with you guys makes it easier for you to tell me what’s going on around here.”
Peterson has resigned after admitting his actions during the shooting in Parkland, FL. He has since wished his blessings to the victims families who lost their children. But many still wonder why he didn’t go inside that building. A resource officer must make it a priority in ensuring students safety because that is what he or she is trained to do, Edwards said.
“I would ask that Florida high school officer, Why?’ I don’t know what that officer was thinking,” Edwards said. “I would give him the benefit of the doubt and say what were the factors that stopped him because at the end of the day he is still human.”
What do you think of the Florida officer’s actions?