[Rushtalk] Some schools, parents consider arming teachers, as remote N. Texas school does

Carl Spitzer Winblows at lavabit.com
Thu Jan 31 15:58:03 MST 2013

Some schools, parents consider arming teachers, as remote N. Texas
school does

By Angela K. Brown
Associated Press
Posted: 11:39 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012

Harrold — In this tiny Texas town, children and their parents don’t give
much thought to safety at the community’s lone school — mostly because
some of the teachers are carrying concealed weapons.

In remote Harrold, the nearest sheriff’s office is 30 minutes away, and
people tend to know — and trust — one another. So the school board voted
to let teachers bring guns to school.

“We don’t have money for a security guard, but this is a better
solution,” Superintendent David Thweatt said. “A shooter could take out
a guard or officer with a visible, holstered weapon, but our teachers
have master’s degrees, are older and have had extensive training. And
their guns are hidden. We can protect our children.”

In the awful aftermath of last week’s Connecticut elementary school
shooting, lawmakers in a growing number of states — including Oklahoma,
Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Oregon — have said they will
consider laws allowing teachers and school administrators to carry
firearms at school.

Texas law bans guns in schools unless the school has given written
authorization. Arizona and six other states have similar laws with
exceptions for people who have licenses to carry concealed weapons.

Harrold’s school board voted unanimously in 2007 to allow employees to
carry weapons. After obtaining a state concealed-weapons permit, each
employee who wants to carry a weapon must be approved by the board based
on his or her personality and reaction to a crisis, Thweatt said.

Employees also must undergo training in crisis intervention and hostage
situations. And they must use bullets that minimize the risk of
ricochet, similar to those carried by air marshals on planes.

CaRae Reinisch, who lives in the nearby community of Elliott, said she
took her children out of a larger school and enrolled them in Harrold
two years ago, partly because she felt they would be safer in a building
with armed teachers.

“I think it’s a great idea for trained teachers to carry weapons,”
Reinish said. “But I hate that it has come to this.”
The superintendent won’t disclose how many of the school’s 50 employees
carry weapons, saying that revealing that number might jeopardize school

The school, about 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth near the Oklahoma
border, has 103 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Most of
them rarely think about who is carrying a gun.

“This is the first time in a long time that I’ve thought about it,” said
Matt Templeton, the principal’s 17-year-old son. “And that’s because of
what happened” in Connecticut.

Thweatt said other Texas schools allow teachers to carry weapons, but he
would not reveal their locations, saying they are afraid of negative

The Texas Education Agency said it had not heard of any other schools
with such a policy. And the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence did not
know of any other districts nationwide that allow school employees to
carry concealed handguns.

But that may change soon.

Oklahoma state Rep. Mark McCullough said he is working on a bill that
would allow teachers and administrators to receive firearms training
through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, which
would authorize them to carry weapons at school and at school events.
Other states are proposing or considering similar measures.

However, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder this week vetoed legislation that
would have allowed concealed weapons in schools, churches and day care
centers, saying he seeks a more “thoughtful review” that includes school
emergency policies and mental health-related issues.

In Texas, guns have an honored place in the state’s culture, and
politicians often describe owning a gun as essential to being Texan. At
the state Capitol, concealed handgun license holders are allowed to skip
the metal detectors that scan visitors. Licensees undergo criminal
background checks and handgun training.

Gov. Rick Perry has indicated he would prefer to give gun owners the
widest possible latitude. Just days after the Connecticut attack, Perry
said permit holders should be able to carry concealed weapons in public

Last year, many Texas lawmakers supported a plan to give college
students and professors with concealed handgun licenses the right to
carry guns inside buildings on campus, but the measure failed.

Opponents insist that having more people armed at a school, especially
teachers or administrators who aren’t trained to deal with crime on a
daily basis, could lead to more injuries and deaths. They point to an
August shooting outside the Empire State Building, where police killed a
laid-off clothing designer after he fatally shot his former colleague.
Nine bystanders were wounded by police gunfire, ricochets and fragments.

“You are going to put teachers, people teaching 6-year-olds in a school,
and expect them to respond to an active-shooter situation?” said Ladd
Everitt, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition to Stop
Gun Violence, who called the idea of arming teachers “madness.”

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner said she would not have felt better if teachers
at her children’s Seattle school had been armed during a May shooting at
a nearby cafe. A gunman killed four people at the cafe and another woman
during a carjacking before killing himself. The school went on lockdown
as a precaution.

“It would be highly concerning to me to know that guns were around my
kids each and every day. … Increasing our arms is not the answer,” said
Rowe-Finkbeiner, co-founder and CEO of MomsRising.org.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, said focusing on arming
teachers distracts from the “real things” that could help prevent a
school shooting “and at worse it furthers a dangerous conversation that
only talks about guns as protection without a discussion about the
serious risks they present.”

As the debate continues, Harrold’s school plans to leave its policy

“Nothing is 100 percent at all. … But hope makes for a terrible plan,
hoping that (a tragedy) won’t happen,” Thweatt said. “My question is:
What have you done about it? How have you planned?”

ObombA did not win erection, Trotskite RINO Mitt Romney threw the
election.  -- Rush Limbaugh
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