ST. PAUL, Minn. - Officer Mark McGinn stood in the hallway of Harding High School for 15 minutes on Tuesday morning.
In that time, he had a student try to sell him candy for a band fundraiser, a student ask if she could come talk to him later in his office and a student ask if he was down to go fishing with him on Thursday.
All of those are secondary job requirements, sadly, to the primary reason he is there.
“For me, the number one thing is to keep the school safe,” Officer McGinn said.
The fact is, since the tragedy of Columbine High School to the horror of what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas last month, the job of a school resource officer is one that can change.
From that of being a resource to students to that of being a one-man swat team.
“Our SWAT team came in and they told us, we have to train you differently that we train, you are going to be by yourself, when this happens you are going to be by yourself and you have to go towards a threat by yourself,” Officer McGinn said, talking about what would happen at Harding, for him, in an active shooter situation.
And so, he's gone through live drills in these hallways by himself.
“As soon as I became an SRO yes, I think about it almost every day, and you think you build these relationships with the students and you have to be prepared to go after a threat.”
Everyday thinking, build relationships and be aware. Humanize yourself as a police officer, and, know how to keep nearly 1,900 students away from the shooter.
Officer McGinn is one of seven school resource officers in St. Paul.
His job is one that Congress, the President and the public at large are debating as to what it entails. But he says he pays it no mind fulfilling his two roles in Harding’s crowded hallways.
That of a peacemaker. And that of a possible, defender.