No Teachers or Police With Guns In Schools
On December 30, 2012, President Obama said he doubted arming school police with guns will prevent future school shootings, but then January 11, 2013's EdWeek hinted that he may yield to local law enforcement officers and communities if it has "bipartisan" support.
While President Barack Obama said recently that he would be skeptical that more guns would be an answer to school safety, his administration is considering paying to add police officers to secure public schools, in part because it may be an area of agreement among lawmakers of all stripes.
In that same EdWeek article, my own Senator, Barbara Boxer, presented just such a plan to Vice President Joe Biden:
California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, told the Washington Post she presented the plan to Vice President Joe Biden and he was "very, very interested" and may include it policy recommendations he makes to President Obama.
"If a school district wants to have a community policing presence, I think it's very important they have it," Boxer said in an interview Thursday. "If they want uniformed officers, they can do it. If they want plainclothed officers, they can do it."
Boxer's initiative would provide federal dollars to schools that want to hire police officers and install surveillance equipment. It wouldn't go as far as the National Rifle Association's proposal to provide armed guards at every public school.
Here's what damaging about Senator Boxer's well-meaning plan: it's not a good solution to the Kern County shooting that happened in California, Senator Boxer's home state, during Vice President Joe Biden's press conference on changing gun laws. It falsely uses the urgency of the situation to make more guns at schools a priority -- and a solution in search of a problem.
And more importantly, Senator Boxer's plan creates a federal funding stream for increased police presence on school campuses, which is too closely aligned with the NRA's goal of a militia in every school. Funding creates demand. School districts that never would've launched the initiative to do this will now apply for funds to enable them to do this. Let local decisions stay local. We don't need federal solutions firehosed from on high.
Dewhurst said school districts would nominate who they wanted to carry weapons on campus. The training would be more extensive than what is currently required for Texas concealed handgun license and include how to react technically and emotionally in an active shooter situation on a school campus.
President Obama, Senator Boxer (!), Lt. Governor Dewhurst, with all due respect -- are you INSANE? Have you lost your respective minds?
Do I need to surgically implant a spine in your back?
We already have a problem with "zero tolerance" disciplinary policies that push troubled kids out of school and into the schools-to-prison pipeline, with disproportionate impact on low-income and/or non-white children. An increased police presence in schools may push kids out of school faster, with higher stakes. And with vigilante-style activists like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona organizing armed volunteers (some with checkered criminal pasts) to patrol school grounds, there are plenty of opportunities for abuse of police presence in or near schools.
Let's keep our eye on the ball and stay focused on gun violence prevention that works: closing private gun sale loopholes, better public safety laws that strengthen mental health and criminal checks for gun owners, limiting military-grade high-capacity magazines, and so on.
For shame, I never would've thought my own "liberal" Senator would cave to the gun sales pitches of the NRA masquerading as policy. We do not need guns on campus. NCLB provides for expulsion of students who bring weapons, including guns, on campus. Then why do we invite adults to bring guns on campus in the name of "safety"? Do as we say, not as we do?
This piece first appeared on K-12 News Network.