School gun proposal prompts recall drive - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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School gun proposal prompts recall drive

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Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — Opponents of the proposal to arm school staff have launched a recall effort against Lake Pend Oreille School District trustee Steve Youngdahl.

Spearheaded by Tom Bokowy, Jacinda Bokowy, Stephanie Aitken and Sandpoint City Council candidate Bill Aitken, their efforts produced the minimum number of signatures to launch a recall petition against Youngdahl. Supporters have just over 70 days remaining to collect the necessary 105 signatures to bring the issue to ballot. According to Tom and Jacinda Bokowy, they’ve accumulated more than a third of that requirement.

If enough signatures are collected, residents of district Zone 5 will vote on the recall in a special election.

The decision to move forward on the recall centers on data presented by Youngdahl in his initial policy proposal, Tom Bokowy said. That data states a mass shooting stopped by police produced 14.29 average deaths, while a mass shooting stopped by civilians produced an average 2.3 deaths.

The data source comes from a article by freelance writer and blogger Davi Barker, who also submits material to libertarian blog The Daily Anarchist. Barker based his data by collecting 32 media reports of mass shootings, determining whether they were halted by police or civilians and calculating the average number of deaths. Many of the civilian-halted instances did not involve concealed-carry guns.

The Bokowys and Aitkens feel Barker’s methodology for data collection is fundamentally flawed, and Youngdahl shouldn’t have presented it as legitimate data. Tom Bokowy said Youngdahl stood by the data in a meeting they held with him Tuesday, where they informed him they were considering a recall campaign.

“That means one of two things,” Tom Bokowy said. “Either he’s not critical enough of the data, or he knows the data is false and is still presenting it.”

Youngdahl, on the other hand, believes the data is still useful, saying it has been reviewed and confirmed by an unnamed Homeland Security associate. He also believes he’s been unrealistically characterized as being on a “lone crusade to arm staff,” and that the topic of guns in schools has been up for consideration since the Jan. 8 board meeting.

District minutes for the meeting confirm former trustee Vickie Pfeifer asked Superintendent Shawn Woodward to research a list of security options, including “armed guards at the schools or trained staff members carrying guns, not saying it was the way to go necessarily, but that the district owes it the community to talk about it.”

“Since the full board was in agreement on the issue, I worked with Superintendent Woodward to look into the potential (school) vulnerabilities,” Youngdahl said.

Youngdahl said the bulk of the proposal is based on a Texas policy, discovered by Woodward, from a school district in Texas. Youngdahl then added safety measures like the Intelligun system, which locks guns from firing until it reads an authorized user’s fingerprints. It’s a valid approach to consider when some district schools have a 20-minute law enforcement response time, he added.

Opponents, however, believe measures like the Intelligun might not help against a poorly-made staff decision or student circumvention.

In addition, they cite statistics from the FBI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Census indicating the rate of violent deaths for youths outside the school is 40 times higher than inside school.

“The solution puts our children at more risk than the problem does,” Tom Bokowy said.

The upcoming board meeting, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Farmin Stidwell Elementary School, may change the course of the discussion, Youngdahl said. Although he wouldn’t go into detail, he believes new information at that meeting may address several concerns.

In the meantime, the Bokowys and the Aitkens believe they should have no trouble collecting the remaining signatures for the ballot within the required time limit. However, Youngdahl said if a recall occurs, he’s equally certain the public will understand he’s trying to create an open forum to debate and consider every school security option.

 “The district owes it to the community to talk about this, and I’m making sure we do just that,” he said.

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  • Colin Cox posted at 12:34 pm on Wed, Oct 23, 2013.

    Colin Cox Posts: 62

    I don't agree with Mr Youngdahls point of view but recalling someone because of their opinion sets a bad precedent. Recalls should be reserved for more serious matters like criminal behavior.

  • BrandyDavis posted at 2:07 pm on Tue, Oct 22, 2013.

    BrandyDavis Posts: 44

    Ironic -- I first heard of the recall on the same day as a school shooting in Wyoming. Should all of Sandpoints teachers be armed?? ...No...probably not...a person that lacks ability and confidence can be a hinderance.But, by all means...IF you are a teacher and you are comfortable with a gun-You OWE it to yourselves and our kids to carry that gun! One of my favorite signs in front of a school was """Some of our staff is armed-Guess which ones".....Guns aren't scary-They are a tool..a valuable tool-that would send a message that we will not be the victims the Bokowys and the Aitkens want us to be!

  • TruePatriot posted at 1:41 pm on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    TruePatriot Posts: 1

    Is this your understanding of a democracy, Mary? Telling people that they should go away instead of having an open discussion (including ACTUAL fact finding) with them? By expressing an opinion like this, you clearly show that you are not capable of dealing with living in a functioning society and democracy and should consider moving to a more suitable country like North Korea (because even Cuba is more forward thinking than you are). You won't be missed.

    And just in case you, Amry Eileen, do not understand - we are in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This is how we deal with situations like this. Have a discussion. Find the facts. Let the voters decide.

    I applaud these signs of a working society. If Bill and the Bokowys succeed, good for them. If not, good too. But all decisions should be based on actual facts, the American way.

  • Kaniksu Kidd posted at 12:42 pm on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Kaniksu Kidd Posts: 3

    Aitken's from California. Who'd a thunk it?

  • bigdan posted at 11:13 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    bigdan Posts: 2784

    Larry Fury, as usual I don't see the relevancy in your comments. If a car is not designed to kill and it kills, isn't that more worry some than a gun which works as designed? And not to make this a Second Amendment argument but we have several examples of cities in this country that have the most strict gun laws and also have high rates of gun deaths (Chicago, Washington D.C., etc.).

    Jason Smith, I believe the 20 minute time was to the furthest school in the district.

    I for one would be happy to see teachers who have received the proper training have the ability to carry concealed to protect against a potential threat. I would much rather be here in 20 years talking about how we took steps to protect our communities children and teachers and never had to use them than to be discussing how we wish we would have at least considered arming and properly training teachers and how that could have saved the lives of our children and teachers.

  • Local LE posted at 9:21 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Local LE Posts: 9

    As a parent and a local police officer, I support the open discussion on ways to protect our children, including the possibility of arming teachers and staff. Josephine said it well, we need to focus on the actual topic, which is whether or not to arm our teachers and staff, and what the application process would look like. Part of the reason something like this is proposed in an open forum is to allow for discussion from both sides. As adults we should be able to put together a well reasoned argument for which ever side we stand on and argue it on it's merits.

    I personally support the idea with appropriate screening. I would much rather my children be in a class with a well trained fire arms handler than in a class with someone who can only have them hide in a closet, under their desks, or in any other class room location. I don't want my kids to learn to hide....

    This proposal is a means to vet the whole idea and see if it has merit or is even able to be reasonably implemented.

  • Mary Eileen Twyman posted at 8:57 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Mary Eileen Twyman Posts: 7

    It appears that Bill Aitken has shot his career, as a city councilman, in Idaho in the foot!

  • Mary Eileen Twyman posted at 8:54 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Mary Eileen Twyman Posts: 7

    Typical lib "ridicule" card! smh
    What's your name "whatnext?"
    You must realize that you are in the God and Country and Constitution Loving State of Idaho therefore, as a lib, you are compelled to hide behind a fake name!

  • Mary Eileen Twyman posted at 8:48 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Mary Eileen Twyman Posts: 7

    Typical libs = Hiding behind fake names! smh

  • Mary Eileen Twyman posted at 8:47 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Mary Eileen Twyman Posts: 7

    Excellent, Dan! [smile]

  • Mary Eileen Twyman posted at 8:44 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Mary Eileen Twyman Posts: 7

    Exactly, Rod! [smile]

  • Mary Eileen Twyman posted at 8:42 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Mary Eileen Twyman Posts: 7

    Very Well Said, Josephine! [smile]

  • Mary Eileen Twyman posted at 8:40 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Mary Eileen Twyman Posts: 7

    Very Well Said, Josephine Ranes!

    libs play the "distraction / diversion" card and then the "ridicule" card, as posted by "here's what i say," and etc, ad nauseam! smh
    When on the ropes libs play their "offended" card and their "hate" card topped off by their "race" card! smh

    The Best Defense For Our Children and Grandchildren Is A Good Offense = Armed Teachers and Armed School Bus Drivers.

    Thank you for revealing who you are, Bill Aitken!
    You have openly shot your future as a city councilman in the foot!

    Just in case you Bokowys and the Aitkens don't realize it --- You Are In Idaho!
    Obviously you are not happy living in a God and Country and Constitution Loving State --- How about moving yourselves to one of the liberal states? --- Or, moving yourselves to Cuba, where everyone is already just like you?
    You Won't Be Missed!

  • Bart in Hope posted at 7:52 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Bart in Hope Posts: 6

    Let's use the famous, "if only one child...." argument. If only one child is saved by arming the staff, isn't it worth it? If only one child is saved by providing bus seat restraints, Isn't it worth it? If only one child is saved by having universal health care, isn't it worth it? If only one child is saved by registering firearms, isn't it worth it?
    Where do you stop? You cannot guarantee the safety of everyone every moment of every day.

    What is the best value for your money (note I didn't say best bang for your buck)? How about a good education?

  • Here's What I Say posted at 6:55 am on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Here's What I Say Posts: 1240

    Ms. Ranes, what IS your point? Your style is too rambling to understand where you stand in this matter. All I read is criticism of other people.

  • Kaniksu Kidd posted at 7:24 pm on Sun, Oct 20, 2013.

    Kaniksu Kidd Posts: 3

    I see nothing negative about what Mr. Youngdahl is doing. Gun-free zones like schools are the creation of fevered liberal minds who want to ignore the reality that there are bad guys with guns out there. The majority of mass killings with firearms in the last 10 years have taken place in "gun-free zones". If you really want to protect our kids don't send them into buildings where there are no good guys with guns to protect them from the bad guys with guns. People who live in the REAL world will understand this.

    All this tripe about statistics that the recallers are spewing is just a distraction from the real issue - they don't like guns.

  • Josephine Ranes posted at 1:05 pm on Sun, Oct 20, 2013.

    Josephine Ranes Posts: 7

    Just as an outsider, this looks so totally foolish to me. It would seem to me that Steve Youngdahl is not a statistician, neither are the people attempting to recall him. Much like politics, this is a case of "let's distract people from what really needs to be discussed with a bunch of garbage."

    If you don't want teachers, that you entrust with your children's education carrying guns, that is one thing, but trying to distract people with a statistics war is another. The fact that you have chosen something with very little concern with regard to this situation and focused completely on that shows nothing but a lack of fortitude.

    I don't know Steve Youngdahl, or am concerned with politics in any manner, but this blatant manipulation will not work with me, and I will attempt to educate as many sheep as I can into not being distracted by this either. As a voter in Bonner County, I do hope Bill Aitken doesn't require my, or anyone I can get to listen to me to vote for him.

    Actually, this is the only reason I've even read this article, so I can gather the names of people that I will not vote for, or support.

    Diversion is only good in personal relationships, doesn't work very well in the general public.

    Oh yes, and everyone you can get to sign this petition is as ignorant as you are.

    The fact that a proposal was put on the table that could actually protect our children should be the focal point of this entire situation, if you don't like the initial proposal, then fight your way to get it re-done. You are making yourselves, and your supporters look foolish by distracting from the entire situation. I don't honestly care about statistics, I care about the lives of Bonner County. I care about the fact that if someone ran into a school with a gun right now, nobody could stop this person until the police arrived. How long would that be, and how many children, and staff, would be dead by then?

    I understand we are to put our trust in law enforcement, but they cannot be everywhere at once, and sometimes we need to know how to, and have the ability to, take care of situations ourselves.

  • RWF posted at 7:18 am on Sun, Oct 20, 2013.

    RWF Posts: 1

    I was at that meeting and I thought Steve Youngdahl was very neutral on the subject unlike the crazy liberal like Mindy on the board as she was completely out of order.

    I just don't understand why anyone is against protecting children against a nut case who intent on killing as many kids as he or she can before someone kills them. I think it is better to kill them before to many kids are murdered. Hiding in a closet waiting to be murdered is not a plan.

    Arm teachers and staff that want to be armed and you will be surprised how many want to be armed and already have some training and their own firearms.

    Rod Farrace
    Clark Fork, Idaho

  • Jason Smith posted at 7:08 am on Sun, Oct 20, 2013.

    Jason Smith Posts: 67

    Steve Youngdahl stated that it took Sandpoint police 20 minutes to arrive to the school. Then shame on Sandpoint police, there is an officer on campus, where was he during this response time? Does he not count? Most school doors are locked from the inside out, exterior and classroom doors. Next SHS can hire ex military instead of teachers, as law enforcement does to "seek and destroy" rather then "serve and protect". Armored vehicles, guns, etc. Playing on fears rather then education. Rubber bullets? They work on bears, was Steve not educated enough in his "Examiner" text book to state this if concerned with safety? Or is lethal force the only option when children are present? Listen to this stupid statement..." I am Steve, I know more then you, so let me tell you how to raise and protect your children, because I know more". That is what he is saying in a nut shell.

  • Allen Hacker posted at 10:28 pm on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    Allen Hacker Posts: 62

    So, Ruby Ridge... is that all we need to know?

  • Ruby Ridge posted at 5:02 pm on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    Ruby Ridge Posts: 72

    Neocon research can never be trusted.

  • KJB posted at 5:02 pm on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    KJB Posts: 513

    So are you saying a person is not fit for a position of authority unless they have no ties to any organization? Should we then be suspect of anyone who belongs to a church, volunteers at a soup kitchen or is a member of the VFW?

    People in this country are free to associate with any organization they want and are able to run for elected positions.

    Am I then able to announce that anyone who is a member of the Sierra Club should be booted from office?

  • Dan Young posted at 4:01 pm on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    Dan Young Posts: 9

    Steve Youngdahl is trying to promote a Community Conversation about how to best safeguard our children. The average parent welcomes a discussion on how to protect students.

    Steve has worked hard on behalf of our schools and has volunteered to work with our youth year after year on his own time. He is always open to all views on all issues.

    He won his position with a significant amount of support from people who trust his judgement, value his calm approach to hot issues, and his consistent leadership.

    Lots of people are just exhausted from trying to figure out how they will come up with enough money so they don't have to decide between a gallon of fuel or a gallon of milk. These folks care about their kids and are counting on elected leaders to spend time to research issues, inform the public, and provide solutions that make sense to most of the community.

    When it comes to people spending their time, talent, and resources in a purely negative way ...
    ... it's useful to examine their motives, agendas, and goals.

    Hang in there Youngdahl ... there is a reason that people attack without using their real names ... these can be people who have never made a real difference ...

  • Allen Hacker posted at 3:04 pm on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    Allen Hacker Posts: 62

    Really, Lawrence, your lead-off argument is name-calling and misdirection? Looks more like demonizing than discussion, more like bully politics than rational discourse.

    How about you address the issue in terms of the relevant Idaho statute, local realities, and the fact that the Precinct Committeeman who initiated the original resolution that went up the line to the Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction and thence to the local school boards, is not a member of the NRA? In that order, to recognize the priorities and give regard to the truth?

  • LawrenceFury posted at 11:39 am on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    LawrenceFury Posts: 704

    Well, what do you expect when you let the loonies, in this case, the NRA nut jobs be in charge of the hen house? The 2 arguments used most frequently by the gun lobby are ban cars, they kill way more people than guns. Except cars were meant as transportation and guns were meant solely to kill, period. Second; when guns are outlaws, outlaws will have guns. We're not talking about criminals that carry a gun during a crime, we're talking about doing background checks on people to weed out those not dealing with a full deck who want a gun to kill for the sake of killing.

    Oh, But the Intelligun system is common sense. Someone who checks out as responsible and not a head case should have his or her prints programmed into the gun so only they can fire it. I think that the more scientific term is: " Isomorphic".

  • WhatNext posted at 10:39 am on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    WhatNext Posts: 167

    Recalls are a given right of the voting population. Lauching a recall simply gives entire voting constituency a voice.

    As far as Mr. Youngdahl. If one ever spends time with the man, you will realize he doesn't play with a full deck. He is always chasing some hair brained scheme to get rich quick or whatever. Not the type of guy that should be leading the school board.

  • Whodat posted at 10:15 am on Sat, Oct 19, 2013.

    Whodat Posts: 33

    While I don't personally know any of them, it appears Mr. Youngdahl is trying to research an issue so the school board can make an informed decision. I haven't seen him say yet whether he thinks it's a good idea or not. And now four people not only want to stop the debate, they want to remove someone from office who MAY disagree with them. Well, that's progressive!

    And one of them wants to be on the city council?!? Hmmmmm...