Are there armed guards in DC schools? Yes and no. DC public schools do not have armed guards, but some private schools do.
Sidwell Friends School, a selective Quaker private school with a campus in the Tenleytown neighborhood and another campus in Bethesda, employs several armed guards. These guards do not include Secret Service protection for President Obama’s daughters. Rather, the guards exist for the protection of all students who attend the school since many of them have high profile parents.
Since the Sandy Hook shootings, there has been a great deal of discussion about armed teachers, administrators, and/or guards in public schools. However, DC Public School (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson is opposed to guns in her schools. She believes that the educational professionals are equipped to handle emergency situations. Henderson says, “I just think that the more guns there are, the more opportunities for unintended things to happen.”
Last spring, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy Lanier advised the school system to train principals on the proper procedures for an active shooter situation. The plan was implemented during the DCPS Summer Leadership Academy when the school system partnered with MPD to train school leaders. Principals, assistant principals, and teacher leads learned active shooter protocol to protect students.
In 2009, DC officials gave charter schools the same police protection as public schools. This was in response to a series of assaults and robberies of students near Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast. At the time, DC had 100 school resource officers to share among the schools which needed them most since the city does not have enough police officers for every school.
At this point, it seems doubtful that armed guards will be installed in all DC schools. But it it likely that the debate will continue about armed guards in DC schools.