Educators More Dangerous Than Guns in Schools?

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Reprinted with permission from Sandpoint PR.

Many in the education community oppose the idea of protecting schools with armed security. I talked to one principal about the idea of certifying specially trained school personnel to provide an armed presence in schools.

She was indignant that I would suggest armed personnel to protect the schools against active shooters. “Guns send the wrong message,” she insisted. Many parents and teachers get indignant about armed law enforcement in the schools.

The fact is, most school districts cannot afford armed security and just the cost of insuring volunteers could be too exorbitant.

Shipping companies refused to hire armed security- until recently- because the insurance companies considered it more cost effective to pay ransoms to Somali pirates than to allow armed personnel on expensive ships loaded with valuable wealth. The fact that sailors were occasionally tortured and killed constituted a negligible cost compared to other actuarial considerations. Are our kids any less valuable than a tanker full of petroleum?

Some teachers in Farmington, Missouri were recently informed that a school safety drill would require them to wear goggles and be shot at with air-soft pellet guns during an active shooter drill to be conducted by the police.

Despite the fact that they were informed the statute requiring such drills provides for opting out of the active shooter drills, the teachers objected to being offered the opportunity to be shot with air-soft pellet guns. Four teachers at Farmington High school even contacted the prosecuting attorney’s office after they were handed goggles during the exercise.

An active shooter is defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm[s] and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.” ~from Wikipedia

Active shooter protocols were developed after the Columbine massacre. Police realized that waiting for a SWAT team to arrive results in much higher body counts. Officers are now trained to go in immediately, with back up if possible, but not to wait for SWAT teams which may take more than 30 minutes to arrive. Most officers now have military style semi-automatic rifles in their patrol cars (those little black rifles with high capacity magazines) because they are more accurate at greater distances than shotguns or pistols.

Using simulated ammunition gives police officers opportunities to work out the problems of stopping one or more armed intruders that hide in the chaos of panic stricken students and school personnel. The Associate Superintendent in Farmington stated that the teachers had the option to declare, “I don’t want to be one of the victims, I think that’s too scary. Teachers could sign up to work in department meetings and in other professional developmental opportunities. We had about 45 members of the staff to do those.”

“I think what we’re going to see is a need to readdress and reevaluate the statute,” said the Missouri State Teachers Association spokesman. Of course, once the union sees the statute as an issue there is bound to be some hand wringing. The fact that we live in an evil world teeming with irrational violence is an interruption to a more important dialogue about making people feel good.

Teachers need to feel comfortable knowing that there are law makers busy trying to outlaw evil guns. Some guns are too heavy and powerful, others are too lightweight and still other are evil black rifles with those high capacity magazines. Parents should feel good because the teachers are dedicated professionals and deplore violence. Though many children are not reading well or doing very well in arithmetic, the government has new programs that will banish illiteracy!

The teachers’ union reminds us that our teaching professionals, like our schools, need more money and the members of the school board are touting global citizenship strategies. Mom and dad are not sure what global awareness has to do with reading, writing and arithmetic but everyone seems to feel so good about the Board’s latest fact finding trip to Finland or some country in Africa!

School shootings can supposedly be laid right to the door of NRA zealots like Wayne LaPierre and the Republicans in the legislature that capitulate to the evil gun lobby by offering opportunities for teachers to participate in “active shooter” drills.

Is now the time?

But isn’t it time to stop wringing our hands and take action? After the shootings in Connecticut, a Federal Way, Washington school superintendent was reported to have said, “I hate this conversation, I hate that it’s a necessary evil. What happened in Newtown…is just horrible. And having young children at home, and sitting and watching the TV, and seeing those photos with the names being called…with your children in the room, looking at the TV, and looking at you, and you’re fighting back the tears. You’re so thankful they’re sitting in that living room with you, and you’re not one of those parents. I can’t imagine what those parents feel like.”

We all felt such sorrow and dismay but the problem is that the expressions of sorrow and condolence above were the superintendent’s public response to a shocking event that called for him to use his lawfully delegated authority to prevent similar violence in the Federal Way schools.

The Federal Way Schools Superintendant went on to state during the January 8, 2013 school board meeting, “But the reality is, if a gunman wants to do what these gunmen want to do…there’s little that anyone can do to stop them. Putting guns in the hands of teachers and principals, who got in this business of educating kids, and not being armed forces…It’s just not a solution, in my mind, and will not be one that comes forward as a recommendation while I’m your superintendent.”

Some states are acting on it

Many states are already enabling teachers and armed volunteers to enhance police protection by wearing a pistol while in the schools. There is a need to develop programs that will include more than just opportunities for school personnel and volunteers to be a target for a simulated active shooter. Programs that entail tactical training for armed citizens already exist and criteria for certifying specially trained volunteers can be developed.

The idea of airline pilots becoming armed resulted in hand wringing about how cabins would become depressurized. Nevertheless, airline pilots can get certified and now carry in the cockpit. High-seas piracy has become much less profitable by the fact that shipping companies have deployed armed personnel on their ships. Maybe the legislators in Missouri wanted to shake some educators into reality.

We should not wait for the teacher’s union to endorse any programs that are not in line with a Brave New World that has been in the making since the advent of John Dewey and the Progressive agenda in the United States. Dewey could be characterized as a Forefather to the modern educational establishment and was one of the most influential American philosophers of the Twentieth Century.

A little history

In 1939, John Dewey was elected President of the League for Industrial Democracy, which promoted the U.S. labor movement. The student wing of that organization became the radical leftwing Students for a Democratic Society. He was accused of being an apologist for Communism but opposed Stalinism. An atheist, Dewey was one of the original 34 signatories of the first HUMANIST MANIFESTO in 1933.

Dewey believed that education and schooling are instrumental in creating social change and reform. “Education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness.”

Dewey taught that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of such “social consciousness” is the only sure method of social reconstruction. Is it any wonder that our kids have lost their moorings? His belief in “Industrial Democracy” and that teachers are not in schools to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child has become a reality in America. Now we need to send a new message- the idea that active shooters will be stopped from roaming around schools and using them as abattoirs. Folks in states like Utah are empowering people in the schools to be armed.

It is not just the students that are losing their moorings. Dewey’s Progressive policies have become so institutionalized that many teachers that have never heard of him are regimented and educated as John Dewey’s philosophical offspring.

Repost this article.

Here are the 18 states that allow adults to carry loaded weapons onto school grounds with few or minor conditions:

•Alabama (which bans possessing a weapon on school grounds only if the carrier has “intent to do bodily harm”)
•California (with approval of the superintendent)
•Connecticut (with approval of “school officials”)
•Hawaii (no specific law)
•Idaho (with school trustees’ approval)
•Iowa (with “authorization”)
•Kentucky (with school board approval)
•Massachusetts (with approval of the school board or principal)
•Mississippi (with school board approval)
•Montana (with school trustees’ permission)
•New Hampshire (ban applies only to pupils, not adults)
•New Jersey (with approval from the school’s “governing officer”)
•New York (with the school’s approval)
•Oregon (with school board approval)
•Rhode Island (with a state concealed weapons permit)
•Texas (with the school’s permission)
•Utah (with approval of the “responsible school administrator”)
•Wyoming (as long as it’s not concealed)

Washington state also provides for school boards to authorize individuals to be armed in the schools, so there are at least 19 states that should be on the list with many other states about to pass new legislation empowering armed personnel to protect public schools. Federal law recognizes that state legislatures and local school boards retain authority to arm school personnel and others in the schools.

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