LPOSD explores school gun policy - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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LPOSD explores school gun policy

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Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — Over the next few months, the Lake Pend Oreille School Board will be exploring the pros and cons of a guns-in-the-classroom policy.

After several months of research, trustee chairman Steve Youngdahl presented the board with a proposed program to train and arm district staff. While the proposal is still in a preliminary form, Youngdahl said he believed unguarded schools made them more attractive as targets for a mass shooting.

“Our campuses are vulnerable, and when seconds count, we need a first line of defense,” he said.

Youngdahl cited a study that indicated mass shootings halted by police officers resulted in an average 14 shot individuals, while an assault stopped by civilians yielded an average of 2.5. That’s because law enforcement often take minutes to arrive — the longest response time to an LPOSD school is about 20 minutes.

When lives can be lost or saved in a matter of seconds, there needs to be some measure of instant defense in place, Youngdahl said.

Therefore, he proposed strategically selecting and training staff to carry concealed weapons in school, integrating them into the broader emergency response and lock-down procedures. The identity of these individuals would only be known to law enforcement and school administrators. Not knowing where armed resistance might come from would place an assailant at a disadvantage while keeping police in the loop, Youngdahl said.

“When (police) roll up to a campus, they need to know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are,” he added.

Youngdahl acknowledged that there were several valid concerns to such a policy, and those questions would need fully-defined answers before implementing it.

The most frequent worry, he said, was the possibility of a staff member losing control of his or her weapon. To address that danger, he proposed using new, patented technology called the Intelligun. An add-on to any M1911 pistol, the Intelligun fits on the grip and locks the firing mechanisms until it reads an authorized user’s fingerprints.

“If the staff member loses control of the gun, it effectively becomes a very expensive paper weight,” Youngdahl said.

Coincidentally, expense was the board’s other major concern. While Youngdahl said the Intelligun add-on would cost the district about $300 per unit plus the cost of the firearm, the full expenses of training staff are still unknown. Trustee Mindy Cameron pointed out there were also several peripheral costs to consider, including the impact to the district’s liability insurance rates. Superintendent Shawn Woodward said the district wouldn’t be dropped outright from their insurance program, but it remained to be seen if rates would increase.

With the subject introduced to the board, trustees said they intend to discuss it through a very considered and public process. Parents and district members are invited to offer their opinions in a public forum scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at Kootenai Elementary School.

“We’re going to take a very methodical approach to make the best, most informed decision we can,” Youngdahl said.

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  • WhatNext posted at 3:42 pm on Sun, Oct 6, 2013.

    WhatNext Posts: 189

    oh, FYI, it is "entitled" not "intitled". Did you attend Sandpoint High School per chance?

  • WhatNext posted at 4:51 pm on Sat, Oct 5, 2013.

    WhatNext Posts: 189

    Awww, did we get our wittle feewings hurt? There are a few good teachers but they are largely overshadowed by the teachers that don't teach just show up each day, the teachers that only teach so they can coach and finally, the teachers that don't care and checked out long ago. The end product of the local school system is below par and the teachers are largely to blame. Defend teachers all you want but you can't fight facts with emotion.

  • klbaker posted at 10:47 am on Sat, Oct 5, 2013.

    klbaker Posts: 4

    Thank you for what you do and all your hard work. Keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • klbaker posted at 10:34 am on Sat, Oct 5, 2013.

    klbaker Posts: 4

    Ok first you need to calm down the talk about "substandard" teachers because I'm a husbund of one and you need to be more respectable to those people that truly care about educating our children. You are intitled to your opinion but please keep your mockery of these good people to your self, don't expliot them over the internet.

  • Kit posted at 7:55 am on Tue, Oct 1, 2013.

    Kit Posts: 82

    Gee Lawrence, As you engage in the artful, and classy sport of name calling, one cannot help but wonder if the other side of the political spectrum can say the same thing about your beliefs ... thus one of the more significant problems in modern society. Inability to articulate points without engaging in the cancerous and vicious misery of vituperative babble, serving absolutely no purpose. Apparently it is lost on you, and many who write back and forth on this blog string (both sides), it serves no purpose, and changes no ones perspective. Work harder, you too can have a good day Lawrence.

  • Here's What I Say posted at 9:16 am on Mon, Sep 30, 2013.

    Here's What I Say Posts: 1240

    Say glory, I don't see teacher bashing as you suggest. Be specific.

  • LawrenceFury posted at 11:29 am on Sat, Sep 28, 2013.

    LawrenceFury Posts: 756

    Oh, in explaining the "sociopath' comment, evidently they gunnies have no conscious if they can ignore the deaths of what? 20 6 year olds. So when those 12 adults were offed in the Naval shipyard, what the h---!
    I don't even know why the media even gives it more that a simple straight forward: "Another shooting happened today taking 12 lives. In other news..." Why say more, the NRA has us all by the short and

  • LawrenceFury posted at 11:26 am on Sat, Sep 28, 2013.

    LawrenceFury Posts: 756

    95+% of the population being held hostage by a pack of lowbrow, knuckle dragging sociopaths. Great. Everyone including granny gets a gun.

    You know the two most moronic arguments used by the NRA and their likes are: One: When guns are outlawed, outlaws will have guns. People, we're NOT talking about sane criminals who use a gun to intimidate mostly those they intend to rob, etc. Usually they aren't interested in murder, but ill gotten gain.
    We're talking about the crazies out there that shoot and kill because of an inner voice, etc. etc. Yet they have either lawfully obtained a gun(s), or some lame brain friend or relatives gets one for them.
    NRA/Gun supporters #2 argument...and don't think this isn't full of the old #2...Is: Cars kill more people than guns. True, I agree! One little fact however, cars were invented and built as a means of transportation that nearly everyone has. But people being people, we're imperfect and we have accidents. Guns on the other hand if I have to point this out were invented and built to kill animals and people, period. And no crap about target practice either.

  • Perki posted at 10:13 am on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    Perki Posts: 619

    Here is another take on the subject:


  • glorifyhim posted at 9:42 am on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    glorifyhim Posts: 2

    [sad] It seems like there is alot of bashing of teachers going on in these comments. I have spent time in one of the district's schools. What I see are dedicated individuals working hard to educate our community's children. Our part is to supply a safe environment where children can be educated without fear. I applaud the efforts of LPSOD to ensure the safety of our children. We all seem to think that it could not happen here, but the reality is IT COULD HAPPEN HERE. Do we want out town to be the next national headline......? Do what we need to do to protect our children!

  • wsantroo posted at 3:54 pm on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    wsantroo Posts: 3

    As a former elementary school principal and teacher, I regard this proposal as insane at best. There really is not enough space, nor would you wish to read all of the arguments I would pose in opposition to this silly scheme. I do hope the public, and parents specifically, will rise against this "program."

    In a nation awash with firearms, the fact is, as we can plainly see, we cannot protect everyone. And the answer is not more good guys with guns. The tipping point has been reached.

    Recently, police in NYC shot two bystanders, and in a 2012 shootout at the Empire State Building, police gunfire wounded NINE innocent bystanders. As a teacher in inner city Chicago in the 1970's, our school police officer was shot by HIS OWN GUN.

    I hired people to work with children, not play wargames. I cannot imagine even one of my staff armed while carrying out their work with children. These are HUGE conflicting duties.

    To even think that firearms training is all that is needed shows the shallowest of thinking. WHEN do you use it? What are the rules of engagement? Who carries the responsibility if a child is wounded or killed by stray gunfire?

    I am rather certain this will not happen. I think that law enforcement, school administration, parents, and perhaps even the school insurance carrier (ICRMP) will disabuse Mr Youngdahl of the notion that good teachers with guns is a good idea.

    The reality is, in a nation awash with guns, no one is really ever safe from those who place no value on their or others' lives. It is the price we pay for the way we choose to interpret the second amendment.

  • Colin Cox posted at 11:49 am on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    Colin Cox Posts: 62

    Yes Bart. You have it straight. This is a scary ignorant idea. It takes a lot more than basic fire arms training to be proficient in a combat situation. Real experience is crucial as well as constant training and practice. This doesn't sound like any teachers I know. As Bob pointed out even highly trained profesionals miss their target most of the time when firing on a perpetrator. In this case it is our children standing in the background.
    When we are already 49th in the nation in education funding, where is the money going to come from?

  • Kit posted at 10:45 am on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    Kit Posts: 82

    Hmmm, Are you saying arming teachers and administrators offers a target rich environment during their moments of frustration and irritation? [wink]

  • Here's What I Say posted at 9:19 am on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    Here's What I Say Posts: 1240

    When I was in school decades ago, the doors were locked from the outside. You could get out from the inside by pressing a bar inside the door that unlocked it, but the door sounded an alarm during times when people should not be going outside. Legitimate visitors got in with a intercom at the front entrance that went to the office. The person in the office could open the doors with a key that wouldn't ring the alarm. The visitor was always escorted by office staff or the principle when in the school. All doors had wirecloth in the glass. Windows in the school were large but very high off the ground. Today they could block people from seeing inside with a reflective film.
    These are common sense safety measures the should be taken first, before guns enter the arena. There are problems having guns in school too that should be thought about. A small teacher with a concealed weapon could be overpowered by a student easily.

  • MichaelN posted at 8:52 am on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    MichaelN Posts: 502

    I don't know if arming teachers is a good or bad idea, but I do know there is an assigned officer at SHS/SMS everyday. He is visible, friendly, and professional at all times. His presence is appreciated by me. His response time if there were a crisis is zero. He's already there. I think a lot of people spout off about our schools are doing so without good information.

    For WhatNext, I disagree with your assumptions. I would lay more blame on the parents of the children that are graduating without an education. I can tell you that my children and their friends are well educated and far ahead of where I was at their age. I am a proud graduate of the University of Idaho and I got what I wanted out of that school.

    I won't label you, but your comments remind me of so many that come to North Idaho from somewhere else and want to change the way things are here. Why in the heck did you come here if this place is so backwards? It amazes me.

  • Bob Wynhausen posted at 7:32 am on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    Bob Wynhausen Posts: 9711

    Wayne LaPierre has famously said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

    Tell that to NY City, where, just last week two police officers fired three shots at a mentally disturbed man, missing him with all three shots but hitting two bystanders.

    A study of police shooting reports for the 11 year period ended in 2006, found that NYC police officers hit their targets only 34% of the time.

    These are trained professional who carry guns for a living.

    We need to think long and hard about this idea.

  • Bart in Hope posted at 6:48 am on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    Bart in Hope Posts: 6

    Let me get this straight: Tax hating, gun loving Idahoans want the school district to spend tax money to protect their children from Tax Hating, Gun Loving Idahoans. Do I have this right?

  • Jason Smith posted at 3:21 am on Thu, Sep 26, 2013.

    Jason Smith Posts: 68

    Underpaid and unappreciated teachers now given the responsibility of life and death. Why are we not looking at other alternatives like placing law enforcement on campus? It is their job as officers. There are other ways to defend and protect schools without arming the faculty. You can train faculty by teaching wing tsun or other form of martial arts. It seems to me that the fear card is being played "for our protection". Maybe we could use the trained crow hunters from the dump to help keep the schools safe. Steve Youngdahl is comparing a 20 minute response time from LA, you could walk backwards across Sandpoint in this time frame. The Sandpoint PD is the only police force ever to suit up in swat gear as they do for "Lost In The 50's", like there is going to be a riot, intimidating citizens, now at school? Ruby Ridge High? How long does it take Sandpoint PD to get across town? If it is 20 minutes then shame on the Sandpoint police response time. If it takes 20 minutes for the Sandpoint police to respond to a school in crisis then they are not equipped, trained, and have no right to federal money.

  • TheTruth posted at 8:17 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    TheTruth Posts: 82

    Figures this story would bring out the libtards.

  • WhatNext posted at 6:32 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    WhatNext Posts: 189

    Not from Cali but that, of course, is the common refrain when someone says something that is not "politically correct". Actually, I have a number of years under my belt here and paid my dues so to speak. My observations are not misguided. The data is unimpeachable. Our schools maybe 4 and 5 star by Idaho standards, but Idaho standards are substandard. The proof is in the result - graduates that can't perform in college and graduates that can't get into college (except UofI which accepts anything including my dog). The state support directly controls the quality. Quality teachers go where they can be compensated appropriately. We, unfortunately, mostly get teachers that no other school system wants.

    I am not dismissing your perspective. It has value. I don't agree with however.

  • MiTurn posted at 6:23 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    MiTurn Posts: 35

    Whatnext, Idaho does not rank 50th in academic achievement, but in state support for the schools. This has nothing to do with the teachers. Your observations, that the teachers are substandard, is misguided. The teachers in LPOSD are excellent, as evidenced by the 5- and 4-star ratings of the schools in the district. Of course, you'll dismiss this.

    Go back to Cali, or wherever it is you're from. You're obviously not from around here.

  • WhatNext posted at 6:17 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    WhatNext Posts: 189

    The challenge is how to classify mental illness and furthermore, how to achieve honest reporting. The Navy shooter clearly exhibited signs of mental illness yet they were ignored. Honestly, I think the US should follow many European countries regarding gun control. Remember, our forefathers said a "well regulated militia" with well regulated being the operative phrase. What we have in North Idaho is that anyone can have a firearm with tragic results. We need a well regulated population of gun owners.

  • Ruby Ridge posted at 5:13 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    Ruby Ridge Posts: 72

    Everyone who owns a weapon would support a law stopping those who are mentally impaired from owning a weapon. The question is how to enforce and pay the costs. The costs could be covered by adding a tax on ammunition and a yearly mental evaluation application fee. Simple fix.

  • WhatNext posted at 4:26 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    WhatNext Posts: 189

    Neither insulting nor praising. Simply observing and reporting what I have seen regarding both the quality of teachers in North Idaho and quality of their end product - educated young adults. The facts, whether you agree or not, are that Idaho ranks at the bottom of the 50 states of public education along with such stellar examples as Mississippi. My observation is that the teachers in our area are substandard and certainly not the type of individual that I would feel comfortable making good decisions regarding the lethal use of force. Simple as that.

  • Aaron C posted at 4:11 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    Aaron C Posts: 340

    Insulting our teachers' intelligence to make a point wins you nothing. Gun control doesn't work because the only people that follow it are the ones who ALREADY dont want to walk into a gun free zone and shoot it up!

  • WhatNext posted at 2:24 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    WhatNext Posts: 189

    Lord, more North Idaho halfwits running amok. Another one of these NRA, gun toting simpletons saying that we need more armed good guys. What we need is more effective gun control not armed teachers. Most Idaho teachers can't find their classroom without detailed directions and a map much less effectively use a firearm. While we are at it, lets arm the students. Then we can just shoot it out at the OK Corral. That this plan has even seen the light of day at a school board meeting illustrates what is wrong not only with public education in North Idaho, but furthermore what it wrong with our society.

    The only flaw in this plan is the high probability that the teachers won't be able to pass the written part of the concealed carry class.

  • Tom Kelly posted at 12:36 pm on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    Tom Kelly Posts: 379

    I might know more about dangling prepositions than I do now if my English teacher had been packing heat and given State High Intensity Training in the use of such heat. That said, putting firearms in the hands of adults forced to spend up to six hours a day with our youth can't be a good idea.