The school resource officer on duty at Stoneman Douglas high school was arrested for “child neglect”. That law was not written for that purpose. It is absurd to charge anyone with “neglect ” when they had no affirmative duty to do anything in particular other than be present. One “officer” being present on school property was considered “sufficient” by school administrators. This is a clear case of scape-goating.
- No single person can be everywhere. It is a random chance that he will be in the place he is needed.
- No single person has omniscience. It is unrealistic to assume that the resource officer had any better picture of what was going on than the people outside the building. Without perfect information, it is unrealistic to expect he could position himself at the right place and time to do anything effective.
- It was nationwide policy for most police to assess the situation. Wait for back up. Establish control and contain the situation. Then and only then, move into the building and go after the bad guy. The rules changed AFTER this event.
- 56 year old school resource officers are not Ninjas, commandos or Chuck Norris. They are barely even police. They work at schools because every once in a while, the school needs someone with a badge and a gun to intimidate a disruptive student. This is something teachers used to do, but then schools districts got tired of being sued. The SRO takes that job because he doesn’t have the energy, skills of competence to do other kinds of police work and night watchman doesn’t pay enough.
This is just another case of the justice system being used to punish someone. The SRO will be bankrupted defending himself from a situation where he had zero criminal intent. The prosecutors should know that “child negligence” does not apply to passive acts by staff members who are not in direct contact with children under their personal care. Such a law has never been used to punish someone for the intentional criminal acts of other people. But even if the jury swings his way, he still has to pay his lawyers. he is still ruined. All because he took a stupid low intensity job at a school that had the bad luck of becoming a crime scene while he was there.