County’s GOP calls for arming school staff - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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County’s GOP calls for arming school staff

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Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — When it comes to school safety, local Republicans are endorsing the idea that a gun in the right hands can save lives.

Bonner County Republican Central Committee voting members unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night that urges Bonner County school board members to train and arm employees of each school in the manner they see fit. The resolution comes as a response to the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut that left 28 dead, including 20 young children.  

Danielle Ahrens, the resolution’s primary author, said she believes that if an individual at Sandy Hook had been armed, the death toll would have been greatly reduced.

As a mother with children in the school system, she decided to craft a resolution to address her concerns.

“The fact is that bad people are going to be armed, and I want someone at schools who is equally or better-armed to protect our kids,” she said.

Aware of the discussions sparked across the country about differing approaches to gun control and school safety, Ahrens cited different occasions where guns helped stop mass shootings. The shooter at Clackamas Mall this month may have chosen to end his assault and his life when confronted by an individual with a concealed gun. Incidents in Pearl, Miss., and the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., may have also been mitigated by individuals with guns.   

Ahrens said the Bonner County Republican Central Committee proposes that select employees undergo all necessary training courses and licensing procedures to become proficient in the use of such weaponry.

The resolution finds its legal backing from Idaho statute 18-3302 (D) (4) (f), which states under the prohibition of firearms from school property that “a person or an employee of the school or school district who is authorized to carry a firearm with the permission of the board of trustees” is exempt from the law.

Beyond the call to local school districts, the resolution also encourages Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna to “proactively inform and educate every educational institution in Idaho as to its constitutional authority” to use firearms as a security resource.

Indeed, members of the Bonner County Republican Central Committee intend to make their case on a statewide level at an Idaho Republican convention over the first weekend of January. According to Ahrens, Bonner County Republicans may be the first to make such a proposal, but it’s already spreading to other areas of the state.

“I now know that there are several school districts around Boise looking at this,” she said.

According to Corey Coon, Sandpoint interim police chief, the prospect of arming district employees isn’t completely unprecedented. He read about school districts in Texas who allow teachers the option of carrying a weapon provided they undergo extensive training and psychological evaluation.

When it comes to local implementation of firearms on school grounds, Sandpoint High School has had a resource officer on for several years. However, Coon said there was a big difference between having an officer on site and arming school staff. Beyond the differing requirements in training and testing, there’s also the issue of liability. If the district made an arrangement with local law enforcement or a security company, the contracted entity would be liable if something went wrong. However, if something were to go wrong involving a school employee’s firearm, the district could face serious consequences.

“I think the major thing is that we look at what we can do right now and take care of those things,” Coon said.

Those measures are already under way. While school officials wouldn’t comment directly on the possibility of guns in the classroom until they had time to investigate the issue, they did say that school security is a top priority.

Lake Pend Oreille School District Superintendent Shawn Woodward said that school staff are taking a close look at security measures in response to Sandy Hook.

“It’s really important that we be thoughtful and rational when it comes to moving forward on this,” Woodward said, adding that any major changes would be accompanied by an extensive public involvement process.

Under evaluation are the schools’ lockdown procedures, which are being tweaked to maximize effectiveness.

Furthermore, the school board will be examining a variety of new approaches to school security at an upcoming meeting scheduled for Jan. 8.

“We’ll have more to say about this after a district-wide evaluation,” board chair Steve Youngdahl said, later adding, “We value input from all of our stakeholders and community members.” 

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  • Luv83864 posted at 5:55 pm on Wed, Dec 26, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    The teachers can lock their purses, keys and other valuables if they choose to. If it were my class room no one would leave until my valuables were returned. Is it right kids take things? Absolutely not. All teachers who want to should also be taught a self defense class. Asking them to possibly engage in combat is not in their job description. Although if I was a teacher I would like to have the option to be prepared to defend myself and my students and i would. The thing is we aren't talking about downtown Chicago but rural areas without much concentrated crime as one would expect. Mental health is defiantly something that needs to be addressed. However so does protection. Police can save lives but if someone wants to kill the police most likely will be there in time. Parents need to keep an eye on their children and help prevent things like this, were the guns locked up in Newton?

  • Corey Greve posted at 2:44 pm on Mon, Dec 24, 2012.

    Corey Greve Posts: 920

    There are many staff at any given school. It need not be a teacher that is well trained and armed. In fact, it is probably better that it weren't a teacher.

    The armed guards at Columbine were not allowed to pursue the suspects. They were forced to wait until police arrived, as per their policy at the time. Policies have changed markedly since that incident.

    Funding will always be an issue when changes are made. It wasn't an issue to fund the new TSA and all of it's bureaucracy after 9/11, I would think that this would be no different.

  • alot2do posted at 5:12 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2012.

    alot2do Posts: 63

    Teachers already have a problem with students stealing their keys, purses, etc. Let's not add guns into that mix.

    I'll say it again, armed guards at Columbine did not stop that tragedy.

    Teachers signed up to teach, not police. We keep heaping on more and more tasks on the heads of teachers, and then get frustrated when kids don't learn as much as they should. Let the teachers do what they are there for. Let them do what they do best.

  • alot2do posted at 5:07 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2012.

    alot2do Posts: 63

    How ya gonna pay for armed guards? School district has no extra money.

    Armed guards did not stop the slaughter at Columbine.

  • alot2do posted at 5:05 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2012.

    alot2do Posts: 63

    So on top of every thing else society expects of teachers, you now want them to be armed policemen? They signed up to teach young minds.

    And where is the district going to get the money to pay for armed guards? The classrooms are at the fullest ever, and they are still having to let school personnel go because of budget cuts.

  • alot2do posted at 5:02 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2012.

    alot2do Posts: 63

    Armed guards didn't stop the slaughter at Columbine.

  • Idahome posted at 9:51 pm on Sat, Dec 22, 2012.

    Idahome Posts: 209

    This is a mental health issue, not a guns at school issue, evidenced by the fact most shooters kill themselves. While the shooting at Newton is tragic, the reality is gunmen can show up in theaters, buses, ball games, churches, shopping centers, you name it. Where crowds gather, these sick people can show up and wreak their havoc. Background checks on the people purchasing guns and extending liability to the sellers of guns if such checks are not performed (similar to the liability bars face for selling to under-age or intoxicated customers) is a good start. Teachers teach, safety officers protect. Guns in the classroom is a bad idea.....Shame on the Bonner County GOP for this knee jerk input.

  • Corey Greve posted at 11:35 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Corey Greve Posts: 920

    That's pretty much what I meant by saying that we are telling kids that guns are "surreal". All too often folks seem to think that guns and violence aren't really real, they are just something that is on TV or in the movies.

  • Corey Greve posted at 11:32 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Corey Greve Posts: 920

    Thanks for the clarification. I had not seen the abbreviation AW for assault weapons before. I just assumed it meant " automatic".

    I am not very familiar with older military weaponry, so I was not aware that there were "clips" with a capacity higher than what I have seen personally. I know the terms get interchanged all the time, but I was taught that a clip was essentially just that, and a magazine is internally spring loaded to feed rounds into the chamber.

  • Corey Greve posted at 11:27 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Corey Greve Posts: 920

    L Wallace wrote " If society is not going to test for & treat mental health problems then healthy society is going to have to protect itself from the mentally sick. "

    I think we need to do both. Now.

  • L Wallace posted at 11:04 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    L Wallace Posts: 1368

    Kids are not overly frightened of armed policemen. I don't think they would be any more afraid of an armed security officer at school than watching what happened in Sandy Hook school (in the news) without armed security. If society is not going to test for & treat mental health problems then healthy society is going to have to protect itself from the mentally sick.

    I have to agree with Wilson that today's kids are fully exposed and conditioned to violence from cartoons to violent viedo games and movies with special & gory effects. Providing 1 armed security officer at each school may not be such a bad idea.

    Kudos to Local Girl who has a teaching certificate and a CWP. Wonder if she "packs heat" at school now? I think it is too much to ask teachers (especially female teachers) to provide both an education and armed security. These are two professions with very different requirements and equipment.

    Having said this, I also have no major problem with the assult rifle ban as was in the 1990's. Though, as I remember it did not stop much violence. I would not want to see gun ban "creep" into losing the right to keep and bear arms. Corey Greve is right that criminals will get the arms they need & even now most crimes are committed with stolen or illegal guns.

    Removing assult rifles & large clips ("TOOLs") will not solve the problem of people killing people. Nor will banning any or all guns get society to define & treat mental health problems. When I went to public school there were eye tests, hearing tests, physical health checkups & mandatory immunization shots, why couldn't there be mental healt checkups, especially during the troubled teen years?

    Take a kid who is conditioned to violence from T.V & video games and is having trouble at home &/or school, throw in teenage hormones and you have the perfect conditions for violent outburst.

  • ski2work posted at 7:59 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    ski2work Posts: 625

    Please explain, with facts, just what the NRA has to do with your assertions? I would like to know how you draw your conclusion.

  • BooBoo posted at 7:51 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    BooBoo Posts: 70

    I find it truely amazing that people on most political sides agree that making school zones gun protected rather than gun free is the better idea. Could this be a place to start agreeing w/ each other on what is good for our Country rather than worrying about whose party calls thr shots??

  • Scoobey posted at 5:45 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Scoobey Posts: 871


    AW = Assault Weapons, as referred to in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban (now expired).

    Technically speaking, a clip is simply a device that holds a number of cartridges together prior to being loaded into a weapon, its primary purpose being to enable one to quickly load multiple rounds into a firearm's magazine or cylinder at once, as opposed to one at a time. Stripper clips for AK-47s, en bloc clips for the M1 Garand, and half- and full-moon clips for revolvers are examples. I think the Garand clip holds eight cartridges, and AK-style stripper clips can hold ten or more.

    Detachable box magazines for rifles and pistols have been commonly called "clips" for some time, however, probably just a shortening of the term "clip magazine". Even Remington markets what they refer to as "extra clips" for one of their 22 magnum rifles. The curved, higher-capacity magazines for some rifles are also often referred to as "banana clips."

  • wilson posted at 5:13 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    wilson Posts: 1076

    To follow up on Corey's thoughts about kids' views on weapons, they are exposed to and are supplied all kinds of violent video games by their parents. Few of them are frightened because they are already conditioned to the point that violence is meaningless as a real threat. I think the makers of these games and the people who supply them to those under 18 should be held accountable if these kids act out and are influenced by them. A little jail time and maybe some of this stuff will stop.

  • localgirl posted at 3:46 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    localgirl Posts: 137

    I have a teaching certification and a CWP. [beam]

  • Corey Greve posted at 2:26 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Corey Greve Posts: 920

    I would not have a problem with a well trained, and competent school staffer being allowed to carry concealed on school grounds as long as there are very strict standards in place, and the training was on par with that of a police officer or high-end security guard.. But I think a separate, well trained security staff may be a better option. It is time we do something to protect the innocent

    . Restricting access to guns is not the answer, since in nearly every single incident of mass gun violence in the last two decades, the guns were either stolen, or were purchased illegally. More restrictions will not change that fact.

    Laurie, I assume by AW you mean automatic weapons? if so, they are already either banned, or heavily restricted. You need some serious cash and some serious processing to own an automatic weapon. Learn the difference before spouting off about them, please.

    A clip usually holds no more than five rounds, and the rounds are driven into the chamber by the action of the weapon. A magazine can generally hold from five to 50 rounds, and is pressure fed by an internal spring. Knowing the difference will help you to look less ignorant.

    Upon entering a building where there is a sign that reads "Gun Free Zone" and there is no security on duty, I feel much less "warm, fuzzy and safe" than I do upon entering any number of places where I know that there are armed citizens, guards, or police officers close by. If we would stop telling kids that everything about guns is either bad, or surreal, maybe they would understand that an armed officer at their school is there for their safety, and they can feel warm and fuzzy about it.

  • Cozy Livin posted at 1:58 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Cozy Livin Posts: 100

    I support arming school staff.

  • Eydee1 posted at 12:10 pm on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Eydee1 Posts: 11

    @Laurie.....So a "perceived" comfort will make the kiddos feel all warm, fuzzy and safe? Hmmm.... depends on your definition of ridiculous.

  • Laurie Wadkins posted at 11:51 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Laurie Wadkins Posts: 638

    ___ Bill mentioned awhile back that Morningside High School in California, when he recently visited, now had armed security guards, to protect the students from themselves. What kind of society have we created? Obviously, the presence of an armed security guard, police officer, or teacher will make the children feel all "warm, fuzzy and safe" Beyond ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bill Litsinger posted at 11:27 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Bill Litsinger Posts: 1394

    @opns_sergeant - post of 9:24 am - A clip is a 15 yard penalty and a magazine is something you read.

  • alljack posted at 9:48 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    alljack Posts: 4

    Ruth, if we ignore the factual errors, the eloquence of your comment makes all additional arguments unnecessary.

  • opns_sergeant posted at 9:24 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    opns_sergeant Posts: 297

    When are the Libs going to learn the difference between "Clips" and "Magazines?"

  • KJB posted at 8:31 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    KJB Posts: 531

    I would prefer an armed security guard at every school. Why are we leaving young school children and the (mostly) female teachers unguarded? They are sitting ducks for anyone who wishes to do harm to them. Seems like a common sense idea. We have guards at the mall for heaven's sake! Why not at schools????

  • Eydee1 posted at 7:37 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Eydee1 Posts: 11

    If there were even one well trained armed person on grounds that day, I am positive the death toll would have been greatly reduced. Do people actually think that if gun companies reduce the number of guns on the market that criminals won't get their hands on them? People make guns on their own and the incentive then to make and distribute guns at a higher value would greatly increase. Why is it that people can't understand criminals prey on the unprotected. Why do you think they prey on schools? Why do you think there are so many crimes against women? In the paper it just came out that a man killed his wife and unborn child with an ice pick. Are we then going to call for eliminating ice picks? So what other alternative can the liberals come up with besides unarming law abiding citizens and taking away their ability to protect themselves and their families? Can someone give me a better solution?

  • Here's What I Say posted at 6:11 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    Here's What I Say Posts: 1240

    Re: Switzerland's gun laws. They are some of the most restrictive in the world. Also the guns in the home for military purposes is an old law. The guns and ammo are all kept in a central, local depot now. When guns were kept at home, the ammo never was. It is a well regulated militia. It's not confiscation that people seek, or a ban on guns, it's regulation or prohibition of guns with clips filled with multiple rounds. There is no talk of banning guns in this country. Ask the 20 little children who were shot multiple times (up to 11x ) in the head at school, how they feel about those type of weapons. And the brave teachers who lost their lives protecting kids in school.
    The availability of guns needs to be regulated.

  • TheTruth posted at 2:09 am on Fri, Dec 21, 2012.

    TheTruth Posts: 82

    You libtards are hilarious. If you didn't b!tch and cry about every little thing, giving criminals more rights than the innocent, we wouldn't have as many issues as we do today.

    Switzerland has the lowest crime rate in the WORLD. I dare you to look up why. Hint: It has something to do with the tools you libs fear most.

  • alljack posted at 9:45 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    alljack Posts: 4

    If we are going to expect school personnel to possibly engage in gunfights in the Band Room, we ought to at least provide them with a flak jacket and a helmet, and maybe night-vision goggles if they work after dark.

  • Bill Litsinger posted at 4:42 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    Bill Litsinger Posts: 1394

    You know what they say, "there is no cure for stupid." I'm surprised that our local socialist Bob Wynhausen has not unloaded on Danielle as of yet. Maybe Bob is in his relaoding shop putting together a special load for this reply.

    Really people, what has happened to the GOP up here?? It's a bit embarrassing.

  • cattywampus posted at 4:07 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    cattywampus Posts: 33

    It's late in the day but I just read the paper and... It's little wonder that there's no bi-partisanship. How does one sit down and attempt to find common ground with folks as ignorant as those in the 'County's GOP"?

    And Laurie, the problem is simply 'unlimited access to unlimited guns'. And if the 'County GOP", the NRA, Gun Owners of America, etc, acted more responsibly and less like domestic terrorist organizations there wouldn't be a problem to solve.

  • Laurie Wadkins posted at 12:33 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    Laurie Wadkins Posts: 638

    Ditto Seeker!
    ___ Define the source of the problem, and fix it! The problem would be disturbed troubled people who have unlimited access to firearms. The solution? Identify and help those who arn't "Runnin" on all eight, tighten up background checks, ban AW's to the public, and for God's sake DON'T arm the teachers! Spreading fear in our schools by arming teachers... hmmm... where will the teacher carry the weapon?

  • Here's What I Say posted at 12:30 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    Here's What I Say Posts: 1240

    Revised headline: " Village Idiots call for arming school staff".

  • Dutchy posted at 10:46 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    Dutchy Posts: 51

    It would be important to get input from the teachers on this issue.

  • Seeker posted at 10:13 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    Seeker Posts: 98