Local News

Threat Of Tasers Effective In Stopping School Fights

Posted November 18, 2004

— Should Taser guns be used against children?

The issue is getting more attention following two recent incidents in Miami, where police offers used stun guns on a 6-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl.

The Garner Police Department is the only agency that uses Taser guns in Wake County Schools. By law, it is up to the officer -- not the school system -- whether a stun gun is used.

"It's hard to paint force in a nice neat box," said Officer John Blum of the Garner Police Department.

Blum said using the nonlethal Taser gun on kids-- as unpleasant as it may sound-- could be necessary.

"Is it reasonable to believe that any person, even a child carrying a sharp instrument or a gun, could injure themselves or another person. If the answer is yes, then you have to allow the officer to make a decision that's reasonable," he said.

Taser guns are only being used at the middle and high school levels.

According to Wake County School officials, just the threat of being stunned with 50,000 volts of electricity has contributed to a huge decrease in the number of school fights.

"It was when students were fighting on two occasions, as soon as [the officer] took it out and explained to them that they could stop fighting or they could get shot with the Taser gun, then they stopped and the fighting stopped," said John Rothecker, Wake County Schools interim security director.

Wake County School officials said Garner High School is the only high school where officers carry stun guns. That school has had the fewest fights this year.

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