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Court Security Vs. School Security

  • By: Lisa J. Pezzano
  • Published: June 16, 2022

Courthouses have long been protected by armed Sheriff’s officers or security guards, for good reason. Irate litigants have been known to make threats against Judges and Court personnel when they are unhappy with the outcome of a Court proceeding. In 2005, one injured worker drove his pickup truck through the front window of the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Morris County, New Jersey, because he was upset with delays in his case. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in that attack, besides the truck driver, who spent nearly six months in jail. Recently, a deranged young man even tracked down Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, at his home, to kill the Justice for an anticipated ruling in an abortion case. Thankfully, he turned himself in before carrying out an attack.

Given the frustration and stress which often accompanies daily Court proceedings, is certainly appropriate for armed guards to defend Courts and Judges at all levels of the government. New Jersey Superior Courts are protected by armed Sheriff’s officers. Workers’ Compensation Courts are staffed with either one or two armed guards, who are former police officers. Court visitors are screened by metal detectors. Judges and Court staff must be confident that they are able to conduct their important work without fear for their personal safety.

In light of the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, I wonder why we are not similarly protecting our most innocent citizens – our children. The old adage that “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun,” is true. Even if every conceivable gun bill was passed into law tomorrow, the US would still have an enormous number of guns in circulation. As long as mentally disturbed individuals roam our streets, there are likely to be copy-cat attacks on schools. The Crime Prevention Research Center has compiled an extensive list of cases in which mass public shootings were stopped by citizens legally carrying handguns. However, schools in most states are “gun free zones,” meaning that only military or police may carry weapons. Unless a school resource officer, generally a retired police officer, is on the premises, teachers and children are thus sitting ducks for deranged people seeking to wreak havoc. Why then are we not protecting our children by posting State Police inside of every school?

Contact Governor Murphy’s office at (609) 292-6000 to voice your support for using State Police to guard our most precious resources – our children.

Lisa J. Pezzano

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