Parents, Law Enforcement Spar Over Tasers In Schools
The student was shocked during a fight in the cafeteria at Franklin Heights High School. A surveillance camera recorded the brawl, as well as the school’s resource officer, deploying his Taser on one of the students.
Margie Preston, whose son was shocked, said she was surprised to hear that the Franklin County sheriff’s deputy who served as the school’s resource officer carried the same weapons as officers who patrol the streets.
"I thought, ‘Oh my God,’ if you can’t paddle them at school but you can do something like this," Preston said. "I think that’s ridiculous."
Authorities defended the carrying of such weapons in schools.
"Just because it’s a school, especially if it’s a high school, it’s really the same for us as if those two kids were fighting on the street," said Franklin County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Oyer.
According to Oyer, Tasers are much more accurate and effective than pepper spray and do not pose the threat of long-term injuries of batons. Several law enforcement agencies who spoke with 10TV News said Tasers have dramatically cut down on injuries to officers and citizens, Hirsch reported.
Shannon Sargent, the mother of the other student who was fighting in the cafeteria, was not convinced. Even though her son was not shocked, she still had reservations about officers deploying Tasers on students.
"My son has a heart murmur," Sargent said. "I don’t know if that can cause any kind of damage to it. It’s small, but it’s still a heart defect."
The National Institute of Justice has found that "there is no conclusive medical evidence that indicates a high-risk of serious injury" from devices such as Tasers, Hirsch reported.
In the case at Franklin Heights High School, the student fell to the floor and suffered a cut to his head. While an investigation found that the use of the Taser was justified, parents of those involved in the fight wondered why authorities just couldn’t have pulled the students apart.
"If you go to try and pull someone off the fight doesn’t stop there," Oyer said. "The other fighter continues on and you’ve become part of the fight."
Ohio’s School Resource Officer Association told 10TV News that just about every school district in central Ohio has school resource officers, and many of them are armed with weapons such as Tasers.
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