Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gun Toting Teachers Hit Texas Town

Since most other bloggers are covering the Democratic Convention I have stuck to other issues. Today I thought I would talk about a small Texas town who has decided to allow its teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus. Harrold Texas is a town with only 320 people listed in the 2000 census. The School has about 100 students and the town reportedly has a zero crime rate. Depending on the news story you read the local sheriffs office is 17 miles away or 30 minutes away, which with lights and sirens means a deputy is about five to 12 minutes away.

Despite all of this the local school board has not only allowed teachers to carry concealed firearms they have provided training, 40 hours worth, to the teachers who have decided to carry firearms to school. The school board has declined to release just how many teachers are carrying firearms and have also declined to name who the teachers are. This decision is supposedly based on the school boards contention it would release security details to possible attackers. According to many parents the school board made this decision with out proper notification and discussion with the parents.

Superintendent David Thweatt of the Harrold Independent School District says he studied the issue for two years while he filled his school with more than 100,000 dollars in state-of-the-art security systems. According to Superintendent Thweatt even with the new keyless entry, camera system, lock-down buttons and classroom telephones, Thweatt said he still could not have prevented a mass murder like the one in an Amish one-room schoolhouse in Pennsylvania in 2006 that left five girls dead.

The move by the school district is attracting attention not only across the nation but in other countries as well. The Republican governor of the state Rick Perry, has endorsed the idea. The governor is a staunch advocate of right-to-carry provisions and has advocated allowing licensed gun owners to carry them into places where they can currently be banned, such as college campuses, churches, bars and private businesses. Some in Texas do oppose the gun toting teachers including Texans for Gun Safety board member Linda Siemers who said teachers or students carrying guns around school "is a terrifying idea." The Houston Teachers Union has voiced opposition to the program and the Dallas Morning News has issued an editorial against the program as well.

I support concealed carry for properly trained citizens. I fully agreed with Barack Obama's quote in his acceptance speech just a few hours ago.

"The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals."

While I can see some good in having armed personnel in schools, I believe arming teachers is not the answer. The odd thing is that when you combine the claimed security costs of $100,000 of equipment that has been installed in this particular school and the costs of training and liability insurance costs the school must incur then you could put an armed trained officer in the school for at least two years if not three. The liabilities don't end with the fact that a teacher could shoot someone or have their weapon taken away and used against them. What happens when a teacher feels threatened or uses bad judgment in when to draw and point a weapon at someone? Money that could have gone to education or to a certified, trained, and armed officer in school will go to the parents of the students who sue the teacher and school involved in the incident.

Law enforcement officers who attend 22 weeks of training and an additional 40 hours of training every two years get sued regularly for alleged excessive force complaints. I can see a lawsuit if not several as this program continues. Police officers go through psychological testing and extensive background checks in addition to all the training they receive. How many teachers would carry weapons if they had to go through psychological testing? How many would pass the tests? If someone fails a psychological test would you want that person teaching your kids with or without a concealed weapon?

I have spoken in this blog in the past about the cuts from the Bush administration which have all but removed federal funding for cops in the schools programs. President Clinton understood the need and included the program as part of the COPS programs which put 100,000 more cops on the streets and in the schools. We all want our children safe in schools however we must be reasonable and think through ideas before taking extreme measures which could backfire and create more problems than they are designed to solve.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have seen this issue on cable t.v. news shows. I am a huge supporter and advocate of this method of keeping our schools safe for ALL students and staff, be it elementary, middle or high school, and deffinately when it comes to our university system!! In fact I am all for students, whom pass the required concealed carry weapons hurdles, training and back ground checks to pack "heat" as well on campus!!

partly due to being a moderate, who just happens to also be an NRA member and supporter, I think common sense measures such as these would go a long way toward
securing our campuses! Would be school shooters will think twice, maybe three times before going on murderous rampages in our nations schools, knowing there are numbers of competant pistol packing students, teachers and administrators waiting to put an end to these pshyco's petty plans? These humps count on a sheepish campus of sitting ducks in order to carry out their sick agenda's, knowing they will live an after life of immortallity and fame after they take out as many innocents as possible, knowing its impossible for law enforcement to respond quickly enough, before these idiots can take over a campus making it a total hostage situation for hours before the good guys can enter and figure out where the sicko's are at, assuming they have not yet done themselves in already after carrying out their awful carnage and blood bath? having competant teachers and students who are willing and able to take this responsibility on and take out these pukes before they are able to ruin untold lives is such a simple and effective answer to these terrible events we have come to accept as "business as usual" on our school campuses from coast to coast. some will say gun control is the answer, limiting, or taking guns away from legitimate, lawfull citizens guarentees but one thing, only the crimminals will then have guns? In all the regions where rabid gun control advocates have had their way, you can be sure of one thing, the crime rates are higher than ever, and yes,the criminals are the only ones who still have guns? Yet, states and cities that have broadened and respected our constitutional right to the second amendments right to own and bear arms as well as concealed carry rights, we have seen concret evidence that crime has gone the other way and are at all time lows!! Gun control and rabid anti gunners do not wish you to hear these truths about gun ownership, and prefer to have you buy into the old myths portrayed in very liberal news papers and media, stating the opposite of the above?? independant research will prove what I have said above is true, some of the most controlled cities and states still after years have the highest and worst crime rates ones mind can imagine. Take a look at DC, LA, or Oakland, Ca and Detroit? worst gun control laws for the lawfull and cart blanch lawlessness for the crimminals, its elementary!! I say give this school district some time to prove or disprove their choice to take matters into their own hands and well see that its the best answer to a complex problem? Thank you, Jay