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Police Officers in front of Forest High School in Florida. Photo: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Scot Peterson, the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has been reflecting on what more he could've done to stop the shooting that killed 17 people, per the Washington Post, after choosing to call for backup instead of running into the building.

Be smart: Student resource officers are supposed to help keep schools safer; but, like in Peterson's case, sometimes they can only do so much.

How can they say I did nothing?
Peterson

Peterson said he locked down the school, cleared students out to safety, and called for backup. He just didn't go in the building.

The big picture

More than 400 students have been killed in 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook in 2012, per the New York Times. Meanwhile, the answer to school shootings has traditionally been to increase police presence.

By the numbers:

  • In 1975, just 1% of the nation's schools had resource officers, according to a report from the ACLU.
  • In 2018, that number is up to 42% in high schools and 24% in middle schools.

Yes, but: Despite the higher percentages, school shootings are still taking place with frightening frequency, and school resource officers aren't always able to prevent them.

The details

The first student resource officer program dates back to 1953 in Flint, Michigan, where officers were hired to build rapports with students. But theit roles have since evolved:

  • Mac Hardy, the director of operations for the National Association of School Resource Officers, tells Axios that officers are typically taught to operate as law enforcement officers, educators on security, and an informal counselors to students, parents and teachers — all at once.

Part of the solution is to be preventative, Hardy said, and be proactive in finding the students that could pose as a danger to the rest of their classmates.

  • For that to happen, says Hardy, students and the community must trust their resource officers — but that's not always the case due to disproportionate discipline.

The bottom line: School resource officers help maintain law and order in schools, but they aren't the solution to the nation's mass shooting epidemic.

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.