Thursday, December 27, 2012

Arizona plan would arm principal or teacher

This from CNN:
Arizona's attorney general proposed arming one principal or employee at each school to defend against attacks such as the recent Connecticut school massacre.

"The ideal solution would be to have an armed police officer in each school," Attorney General Tom Horne said in a news release Wednesday. But budget cuts have limited the number of Arizona schools with "school resource officers" on campus, he said.

The "next best solution," Horne said, "is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location."

A shooter, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and two other guns, on December 14 killed 26 people -- including six faculty members and 20 young students -- at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

Horne compared the plan to the FAA's program adopted after the September 11, 2001, attacks to arm airline pilots.

A school would be invited to send the principal "or another designee" to "training in the use of firearms and how to handle emergencies such as that which occurred in Newtown," Horne's release said. Horne's office would oversee the free training with help from sheriffs, he said.

"The designated individual (no more than one per school) would then be authorized to keep a firearm locked in a secure place, and would have adequate communication to be alerted to an emergency in any part of the school," the release said.

Several Arizona sheriffs have joined in to support the proposal, Horne said.

Legislation to allow it will be introduced by the Republican leader in the state House, he said.

"This proposal presents a golden mean between two extremes," Horne said. "One extreme is to allow all teachers to bring guns to school, which could create more dangers than it prevents. The other extreme is to do nothing, which everyone will regret if a preventable incident like Newtown would occur in the future."


Anonymous said...

Only in the public schools would we rationalize yet another expectation/responsibility for educators to respond due to the societal ills in which they teach. Educational system transports kids to and from their homes, feeds them, gives them medical attention, seeks basic necessities, offers counseling, provides entertainment, oh yeah - teaches them the three Rs and now they are expected to use armed force to defend them. I don't know a lot of careers that offer one this much ... variety.

We try to impose higher academic standards on preservice teachers, more professional development, increased student performance, maximized use of instructional time just in order to make sure they are good teachers and threaten to run out of the profession anyone who can't get all kids to learn at high levels. Then we turn around and give them a one day inservice on multiple medical interventions (inhalers, glucogon, epipens, administering medicine, first aid , CPR, AED, etc) which could mean the difference in life and death for a students. Now we expect some of them to take on firearms training as part of their job.

How many men and women did we have serving in the armed forces in Afganistant and Iraq "rebuilding schools and protecting the local citizens" these last ten years? Not sure how we can justify that expense but not doing the same for our own kids at home.

Folks who worry about arming the principal or a teacher do concern me. You are willing to trust an educator with daily safety of your children, not to mention their psycholsocial, physical and intellectual growth, but you don't trust them with a gun? Maybe we should take their scissors and thumb tacks away from them too.

Anonymous said...

I am a survivor. I live with the trauma of having worked with a principal who made several poor management decisions, was considered unbalanced by the staff, and who ultimately was found with a gun in her car at Leestown Middle School.

That incident resulted in her dismissal, the exit of Superintendent Peter Flynn, and the middle school director,and the exodus of several staff members to other schools.

To this day, nobody in Central Office wanted to use the word "mental illness" to describe the principal. It was a horror beyond horrors.

That being said, I think the worst thing we could do is arm the teaching staff or a principal. At my school, I think all the unbalanced teachers would step forward to be trained to carry a firearm. No thank ypu.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the respondent above failed to mention the prolonged litigation in the Leestown case. Wonder what that cost Fayette County taxpayers? Even more disturbing is that she still has a Kentucky teaching credential! And then she shows up at the Petrilli case....

Anonymous said...

OK, just watched the President Sunday morning say he is skeptical of "putting more guns in schools." (Note, not putting armed people to protect your child but guns, as though some ominous looking pistol or rifle was going to be walking through the school on its own accord, ready to be misused by any person who happened upon it. Perhaps if we armed these people with cross bows and spears that would be ok? Also, I am not sure how he can be skeptical about a practice which is already in place and for the most part appears to be working.)

The President walks around with what is probably the worlds most sophsicated, well trained and definately heavily armed group of secret service agents and he is skeptical about putting just one in your child's school? We have armed guards and police officers at our borders and airports but that doesn't seem to increase the potential for violence there nor does it appear to make folks less inclined to travel or feel less safe doing so. So what is the difference when we talk about a school full of children and their security needs?

I am skeptical that a government which outlawed hallucenagenic drugs decades ago, has thousands of police offices and federal agents fighting "the drug war" and continues to invest millions of dollars each year not just in attempting to police but also support counseling/monitoring programs can have any sort of real impact on what a pychotic or just plain evil person can elect to do with or without a gun. If we could suddenly make all guns disappear, do we think some nut won't drive a truck full of LP tanks into a school? What then - no more cook outs? How about a nail guns? Maybe we should decrease the size of portable compress air and limit the number of nails in a slip to 10. Better yet lets just get rid of them and just go back to using only standard hammers in construction.

After 911, we didn't stop flying but instead attempted to protect the needed asset. Seems like our kids should get the same sort of support as we give our citizens and visitors to our country.

Anonymous said...

I was not educated to be a counselor or psychiatrist but I am required to be trained each year in suicide detection and intervention. I think the expectation is that though my training is somewhat limited, I see the potentially at risk child everyday, have a certain degree of responsibility for their welfare and I migth be able to more timely detect, engage and redirect a suicidal student to those better trained to assist them.

Similarly, I was not educated to be a doctor, however each year I am trained in a variety of first aid, CPR, glucagon, epipen, AED device, etc. Again, I believe the expectation is that I will most likely be one of thethe first educators to respond to a student's medical emergency and hopefully my quick response will sustain the student at least until trained medical personnel can render more indepth aid.

I guess you see where I am going with this. Taking care of our students is our duty. Mental health professional or parametic ever told me "your involvement has complicated this situation" but instead it was generally understood that I did the best I could to serve whatever the child's needs were within my limited frame of ability and training until the experts could arrive.

I don't see arming principals as being any different. I will take some basic training with the hope of never having to engage in the act but knowing like all things it could happen at anytime. Like the other examples, I will hope to support and keep my students and staff safe by engaging the individual until trained law enforcement can arrive. Not really looking forward to it anymore than the other training but like the other situations, it has become an expectation and one which I accept and would want to be prepared for. Equally, just as if I ignored a student's warning signs for suicide or didn't know how to use an glucagon injector for a diabetic student in distress, I would not be able to justify a similar short coming in my actions if I failed to engage a threat with as effective a measure as possible in protecting my students and staff.