Friday, December 21, 2012

Holliday: 'no armed guard could have prevented the Newtown incident'

This from the Herald-Leader:
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said that although he backs safety in schools, he questions the workability of the National Rifle Association's call for Congress to pay for armed police officers in every American school.

"I support safety in our schools; however, no armed guard could have prevented the Newtown incident," Holliday said, referring to last week's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"The culture of violence within our society makes movie theaters, churches, post offices, schools and college primate targets for mass shootings," Holliday said a statement responding to the plan unveiled Friday by NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.

"The only way to deal with this issue is to address the many facets that create a culture of violence," Holliday said. "We must address gun control, mental health, violence in media including movies and video games, and other related issues in order to combat the culture of violence."

Holliday said he supports continued funding for School Resource Officers, which serve in many Kentucky schools, and he hopes for increased funding that would allow more officers.

Meanwhile, Fayette County Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton said he would welcome federal funding to provide guards in schools, if Washington let districts craft security programs to meet their particular needs.

"I'd just ask that they don't build the model and say that everybody has to follow the same model," he said. "I would prefer that they provide the funding so people could look at what model fits their community best."

The Fayette school district has its own in-house police force, with 28 sworn officers who have full police powers on school property. The school district's officers are armed.

Many other Kentucky districts have "School Resource Officers," who typically are sworn officers of the local police department assigned to work in the schools. Their duties mainly involve breaking up fights or helping to calming tense situations, rather that directly acting as guards.

Shelton said the Fayette Schools' can't afford an officer to cover each of its 63 buildings, plus special programs that operate in auxiliary buildings.

"Our model works really well," he said. "So if they would provide additional funding so we could expand our model, that would be great."

Wilson Sears, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, said most superintendents probably would not oppose having a police officer in every school.

"Many schools already have them in the form of School Resource Officers," Sears said. "So, the idea of having a uniformed officer in a school is not uncommon."

Sears said he has more reservations about other ideas that have been floated since the Sandy Hook incident, such as arming principals or teachers.

"We don't have Firearms 101 in teacher or principal-prep programs," he said.

Sears said that if a principal was issued a gun, it probably would have to be kept in an office under lock and key. He noted, however, that principals usually most of their workday visiting classrooms or other distant parts of the school building, and might be far from the locked gun when trouble broke out.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Dr. Shelton can afford security cards for each building. How much did the big assembly cost for all Fayette County Teachers this past August? How much are the seminars the principals and academic coaches are sent to each year? There is no PD fund for teachers. We are told we are broke. Now Dr. Shelton tells teachers and students there are no funds for keeping Fayette County School students safe? I am sorry, but until an audit is conducted to see where are mon ey is being wasted, Dr. Shelton should not say the things he does.

Richard Day said...

I'm pretty sure the commissioner was responding directly to a question from H-L's Jim Warren.

And for my money, LaPierre's comments were a far-fetched effort to distract the conversation away from a legitimate discussion of just why it is anyone (other than trained law enforcement officials) would need an assault rifle.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely can't believe that Holliday would even consider saying something like this. If he indeed feels this way, then why do we have armed school resource officers at schools. Certianly if they couldn't stop an armed intruder why would we ever consider them of any value in any lesser situation? Really COmmisisoner, it is acceptable to wait until armed authorities can be notified and travel to the school and allow the shooter to walk around the school killing kids but having someone there who was armed and could engage the shooter would not have made a difference?

I suspect that PTAs and parents will have a much different perspective on this matter than the COmmissioner and his all knowling crystal ball.

I wouldn't want to be a school superintendent or principal who refused a resource officer or armed guard at a school where kids have been killed by a shooter as they waited for the police to arrive. No definately wouldn;t want to face those parents or the families of educators killed because I felt like there were other "facets" which were more important to address.

Anonymous said...

All these shooters seem to show up with lots of ammo and multiple weapons. Really won't make the kids any less dead that they were killed with shotgun, hunting rifle or hand gun instead of an assault rifle. All of these shooters have either killed folks with legally purchasable guns or taken the weapons from folks who bought them legally. The whole idea that gun control is going to offer some sort of protection is a false hope.

I am fine with banning assualt weapons and large magazines but there are already a ton of them out there. If we start trying to pull them off the streets from folks who bought them legally for whatever reason, you are going to feed right into that segment of our population which doesn't trust the government and would now see the feds as infringing on bill of rights freedoms. Don't see them handing them over without fight or at least some deception.

Anonymous said...

Ok if I am worried about my kid's safety at school when they return in January which do you think I have more faith in: (1) posting a trained & armed guard or resource officer at my child's school or (2) our ability to legislatively control and significantly impact mental health monitoring/interventions, make video games be non violent, stop the marketing of violent films and TV shows and rid the population of guns or at least guns that shoot more than a five or six bullets.

Our useless legislators can't even agree on a budget in order to save our country from financial run; how are they going to make these types of significant changes in a society which prizes individual freedoms and rights?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Commisioner Holliday should make this another component of schools' KPREP scores.

Schools could not be scored and held accountable for the reduction of automatic weapons among families as well as decreases in violent movie attendance or video game purchases similar to the reduction drop outs or students not score proficient in reading. Also, schools could also be responsible for identifing community members who may have mental instability and create 504 plans or IEPs for these adults in the community.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Dr. Holliday you don't think that the Sandy Hook Principal wouldn't have had any any more chance of stopping the shooter if she had a firearm at her disposal as opposed to taking him on unarmed?

Amazes me that when you start talking about protecting yourself and those who you are responsible from unprovacated, unpredictable violence, that folks want to try to impose limitations on your self-defense. Somebody is trying to harm my kids, I am going to do whatever I can to protect them.

Maybe we should start having our police officers just carry night sticks and forgo the side arms and shotguns too.

Why is it that so many folks have a difficult time with only accepting a weapon in the hands of either a law enforcment agent,soldier or maybe a hunter. If you don't fit those roles you get painted as some sort of gun freek. I say if the educators want to be trained to safely and securely have firearms at the school for this sole purpose, then we should support them instead of telling them that because they are a teacher they can only hide and wait to be shot if shooter comes into your building.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how these six educators at Sandy Hook would have scored on KY's new teacher evaluation system last month? I scanned the instrument and haven't seen any criteria which measures characteristic of life forfeiture in defense of children.

Sad how the same folks who lambast teachers as incompotent and lazy folks who are responsible for our intellectual, economic and social decline one day can call them hero's the next day in front of the cameras.

Anonymous said...

He doesnt expect that an armed guard could have stopped another armed man from ending the futures of 20 childrent but he does expect one teacher to educate 20+ at the same time and change their futures?

THis must have be some of the cutting edge stuff Dr. Holliday learned during his travels to Brazil and China. Maybe if one of the states assessment vendors could market a tool for school security, he would be more inclined to buy into the idea of protecting students today instead of blaming mental health professionals, video makers, film producers and gun manufactures.

Folks like to espouse their positions on issues and lambast everyone else with blame but I am betting that when school starts next week and they are asked if they would support having a trained, armed guard at their own child's school I dobut many will decline that added protection for their child. We've had crazy folks around since the dawn of time, we've been hurting each other since Cain and Able and we've been entertaining ourselves with plays, books and picutres for centuries which glamorized violence. We aren't going to change human behavior just because an unfortuante tragedy.

Thousands of Syrians have died over the last year and I am betting that most folks just want to live in peace in that country. I am betting that most Americans think it is a terrible situation and wish there not such armed strife among the Syrians but those hopes and self held values aren't going to change what's going on there any more than these calls for non-violent entertainment, monitoring of all mental health patients or even extreme constriction of gun sales are going to prevent a psycholtic or dranged individual from attacking a school full of children.

Anonymous said...

CHeck your international news on the day of the shooting. On the very same day,a guy in China entered a school with a couple of knives and stabbed over twenty children and educators. Didn't use a gun, because private gun ownership is not allowed. Probably didn't have the chance to watch a lot of violent videos, films or play shoot'em up videos since the state controls the media. I don't know if he had mental instabilities but one might assume so in light of his actions.

So how could this have happened on the very same day in a place where the government doesn't allow public gun ownership or freedom of media or entertainment which might be considered degenerative or cooersive by the government? Maybe somethings can not be prevented as long as individuals (sane or insane) have the free will to act. Maybe the best we can hope for is stop the behavior as quickly as possible when it occurs.

Teachers shouldn't have to die protecting kids when small scale staffing investments at the local level could prevent the behavior. We are going to have to get over our phobia about armed guards at school. I started as an administrator without a resource officer and during the last few years have worked with one within the school. After the initial transition, it became quite clear that parents valued his presence, appreciated is daily support and trusted that he would do whatever was necessary in whatever measured response which was required in order to not just protect their children but to direct and support them. It is not just about strapping a gun on someone, it is about having a skilled person there to support the educators, students and parents in a realm in which teachers are not really trained.

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