Wednesday, August 15

Over 25% of Duval Safety Assistants Turned Away--I Wonder Why

I have to wonder why over 25% of applicants for Duval school safety assistants were disqualified. Basically, the job is armed security guard, and I assume people applying realize what they are getting into. We're not talking about people who blow it at the interview here, I assume. Actually, it should worry all of us that 25% of the people who are trying to get into our schools don't qualify, and it makes me wonder just a little bit about the other 75%, too. Let's take a look at a few of the job requirements to see if we can identify what kind of past or present resulted in the downfall of 1/4 of the applicants.

  • Uses whatever force is necessary to prevent or abate an active assailant incident.
80 year-old grandmas need not apply, but that should have been obvious. Plus, these folks are carrying guns. Perhaps someone with a physical disability wanted to give this job a shot, but I assume very few people applied who could not meet this requirement.

  • Prepares a variety of documents (e.g. security logs, memos, letters, procedures, etc.) to document activities, providing written reference and/or conveying information. Reads and responds to e-mail communications.
I could see this one tripping some applicants up. They might have figured just being good with a gun and a camo wardrobe would be enough. As a former English teacher, all I can say is that I told you so. That said, this is very basic, and most people who like shooting at stuff can also email others when necessary.

  • Must be at least 21 years of age. 
I'm not sure why being of legal drinking age is important here. Maybe we can't get conceal-carry licenses in Florida until 21. I'd rather this requirement be: Must have a child. As a father, I know that I would do anything I could to stop any threat to kids. In fact, the best requirement would be that the assistant would have a kid at the school. Of course, I assume there were plenty of 18, 19, and 20 year-olds who applied. As a former high school teacher, I know these kids aren't reading the directions.

  • Must possess a high school diploma (or equivalency).
Again, I'd rather have parents in the schools, diploma or not. And you don't need a high school education to shoot straight. I am sure there were a few applicants who did not complete high school, but I don't blame them for trying.

  • Read, write, speak, and understand standard English.
I like the addition of "understand" to this requirement, implying that someone out there might be able to read, write, and speak the language without understanding it. You know, if I was a concerned parent who could only speak Spanish, I probably would have applied for this job. But I get it. If something bad happens, you have to act immediately, not nod and smile while pretending to understand.

  • Must have or obtain a State of Florida (F.S.S. 790.06, Florida Statutes) concealed weapons permit at the applicant's expense prior to employment.
OK, now this one worries me. I assume there were a number of people who applied who, for whatever reason, could not get a concealed weapon permit. I hope someone made a list of names for this one. If you applied for a job to be in a school protecting kids and are not able to get a permit to carry a gun, I am concerned.

  • A valid Florida Driver's license is required prior to appointment.
This one I don't really understand. My assumption is that a safety assistant is going to be walking around the school all day. Wouldn't a state ID or US Passport work for this? It's not like these folks are going to drive the buses. The duties don't include driving at all. Just shooting and tackling.

  • Must submit to and pass an initial drug test and subsequent random screenings. 
I'd wager that this was the #1 reason for disqualification, and it's another one that worries me. Some people don't want to submit to the test, and others fail it, but anyone who's taking drugs and wants to hang out with our kids to sober up.

  • Must pass a psychological evaluation.
Wait, this IS the one the worries me the most, and I sure hope there's a list being kept of anyone who fails a psychological evaluation to work in schools. I'm fine if it's because the applicant did not feel comfortable killing another human being to protect the kids. I'm talking about someone who does not belong in a school based on results of an evaluation. Also, it worries me that these evaluations are easy to beat. It also worries me that the application does not mention a background check, but I assume some of the people denied access to our schools failed there, too, and should be added to our watch list.

  • Must submit to and pass an initial drug test and subsequent random screenings. 
Yep, it's on there twice.

  • Ability to pass required physical, psychiatric, and drug tests.
And a third mention of drugs. Guns, not drugs, people.  This is the first mention of a physical test. I assume the ability to run would be useful, but there's no actual mention of running.

  • Ability to exhibit rapid mental and muscular coordination simultaneously.
I guess this might include running. Running while thinking. And holding a gun. Holy crap, what are we getting ourselves into here? Armed guards running around schools! I just pray we're not hiring people with undiagnosed PTSD for these jobs.

I think the main point is that we are protecting ourselves from guns with guns, like this is a war-torn country. If our entire country follows suit, we'll have 130,000 more guns in schools. Maybe there will be fewer students who show up to school in order to shoot up their classmates, but if shooting people is the goal, there are still plenty of places to get that done. But I suppose if we all arm ourselves at all times, then the insanity will obviously end. 

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