Sunday, October 27, 2013

More Pro-Gun Arming Of Schools Despite Objections From Teachers

Even in the hands of police, accidents happen at schools
(This post is UPDATED with additional instances since first posting -- see below)

Well, it's happened again.  Another school board with some pro-gun extremists sitting on it has declared that concealed handguns are allowed in its classrooms, including in the hands of its teachers.  This time in St. Helens, Oregon.  As usual, though, they have done so against the wishes of the very teachers they want to arm.

Back in March, 2013, a ban against guns was put in place in that school district after teachers and parents were polled.  The vast majority were against guns.  Wisely, the school board put the ban in place out of respect to the wishes of those they served.

Unfortunately, school boards are not necessarily made up of people who have children in their district or have any teaching experience at all. 

From an article and news video which quotes one of the teachers in that school district:
A teacher at St. Helens High School says the school board ignored teachers’ opinions when they repealed a ban on teachers and staff members carrying concealed weapons on campus. 
Amber Horn said the board knew how the teachers felt about the issue, but didn’t care. 
“Totally unvalued. Our opinion doesn’t matter,” she said. “A teacher’s worst nightmare is a gun in school. I have a toddler there. That’s the worst nightmare there is.”

Since the ban was put in effect, some new, more conservative school board members have come on the board and decided, on their own, that guns around kids in their school would be a great thing.

Board member Ray Biggs and chairman Marshall Porter, in particular, think teachers should be able to have guns in the event of a school shooting. 
“I would say that the risk is more likely that somebody who isn’t following the law is a higher risk to your child coming on to school property than the one that is going to do it legally,” Porter said.
Really?  It would seem that Mr. Porter doesn't have his facts straight.  If he had bothered to look, he would have found that there has never been a school shooting stopped by an armed teacher or a citizen conceal-carry owner.  The closest case I ever found was of a school staff member (and Army reservist commander) who went out to their car and got a gun, but the shooting was over by that point, the shooter was out of ammo and was driving out of the parking lot (the only reason he was stopped was that the shooter crashed his car, allowing the staff member to get to him and hold him under arrest).

On the other hand, I know of at least FIFTEEN instances where they have CAUSED incidents, including injuring themselves or children, just in the last couple years, including one by a police officer just the other day.  Here they are:
  • September 13, 2016:  A school teacher at Cumberland Christian School, in Chambersburg, PA, left a loaded, unsecured handgun on a toilet in a bathroom. Four children, ages 6 to 8, went in the bathroom before one of the children reported the gun. Luckily, none of them fired the gun.
  • February 19, 2015:  A school resource officer at Western Wayne School District in Pennsylvania unintentionally fired his handgun in the school.  Luckily, no one was injured.
  • September 11, 2014A teacher was in the bathroom of a school in Taylorsville, Utah, when she unintentionally shot herself in the leg with her own handgun.
  • January 18, 2014:  An armed security guard left his weapon unattended in the bathroom, fully accessible to K-8 students, despite being a retired police weapons instructor.
  • October 24, 2013:  A police officer left his loaded assault rifle strapped to his motorcycle while visiting an elementary school.  A boy pulled the trigger, firing the weapon and leading to a shrapnel injury of three kids.
  • August 24, 2013:  A SWAT police officer was giving a presentation at an elementary school in Lodi, California, when a 6-8 year old boy fired the officer's holstered gun, hitting the officer in the leg.
  • May 14, 2013:  A school staffer with a conceal carry permit was offering a ride to a student, in the parking lot, when he unintentionally fired his legally concealed handgun, hitting the student in the leg.
  • March 6, 2013:  A recently-started armed resource officer program at schools in Highland, New York, was suspended after one of the security guards unintentionally fired his weapon in school Children were present, but luckily no one was injured.
  • March 1, 2013:  During a conceal carry training class, on school grounds, which was part of a new program to arm school staff, a school maintenance worker who was a student in the class unintentionally fired his weapon, wounding himself in the leg.
  • January 17, 2013:  A charter school in Lapeer, Michigan, decided to start having an armed guard on campus.  Three days after hiring a guard, the man left his weapon in a school bathroom where kids could have found it.
  • October 8, 2012:  A man with a concealed handgun visited an elementary school classroom in Moore, Oklahoma, to help the teacher with her computer.  His gun fell out and he left without it, only realizing it was missing after the media reported it.  Small children were present in the room at the time.
  • March 22, 2012:  A volunteer track coach at John Mall High School in Walsenburg, Colorado, unintentionally shot himself in the leg with his new .40 caliber Glock handgun, nearly bleeding to death.  He was in his vehicle in the parking lot of the school sports complex.
  • December 8, 2011:  A janitor with a conceal carry permit was working on ceiling tiles in a preschool classroom in Waterbury, Connecticut, when he took off his gun belt.  He then left the loaded gun in the classroom and forgot about it. Monday morning, teachers came in the room and found the gun, only moments before 3- and 4-year olds entered the room.
  • September 12, 2011:  An armed security guard, patrolling schools at night in Salem, Oregon, unintentionally lost his loaded firearm somewhere during his rounds The gun was never found.
  • May 12, 2011:  A school resource officer was cleaning his gun, while in the school building, and unintentionally fired the gun. The round went through the wall and into the nurse's room where there were two student, the nurse, and another adult. Luckily, no one was injured.
Totaled up, that's four children and three adults who have been wounded out of eleven cases.

What's more, these extremist school districts are discovering that, upon making their ruling allowing guns on campus, their insurance companies are pulling their coverage or drastically increasing premiums.  You see, insurance companies actually pay attention to the facts and statistics.  They understand that guns and kids are a deadly mix.

Arming schools is an idea that is very unpopular with nearly every national organization representing parents, teachers, and law enforcement, as well as the citizens of Newtown, and has no merit with any historical context.  It’s time to listen to them and put this whole, dangerous nonsensical suggestion by the NRA to rest.  Support commonsense gun regulation to keep guns out of the hands of children and bad guys to begin with.

(10/29/13: corrected to read St. Helens, Oregon [not Washington])


UPDATE (11/5/13):  A group of teachers, parents, and concerned citizens of St. Helens, Oregon, got together to hold a public protest of the school board decision.


UPDATE (11/11/13): The shooting at a high school in Walsenburg, Colorado, was added to the above list.

UPDATE (1/14/14):  Incident in Michigan added to above list.


UPDATE (9/11/14):  The unintentional self-shooting of a teacher in a school in Utah was added to the list above. 

UPDATE (1/13/16):  Added the incidents from February 2015 and May 2011.