Teachers Carrying Guns at School - That's a Paramount Duty?


A hugely helpful and through wrap-up of the current discussion over K-12 public education funding (and the fulfillment of McCleary) in the Legislature over at Publicola.

Basically, the Republicans wanted to pass an amendment that said they approve an education budget FIRST and then a state budget.  And all without saying what they would cut elsewhere to fulfill the needs of the education budget.

Even LEV doesn't like this idea. 

It makes the Republicans look great - we care about education, first and foremost - when we all know those cuts would be drastic ones especially to areas of social services which have already been slashed.  Mental health services (like for people who might go shoot up someplace)? Already cut?  Insurance for poor people?  Already cut.  Higher ed?  Already cut.

I'm not saying there won't be pain but it has to be clear BEFORE any vote where the pain will be.

End of update.

In a newbie display of idiocy, newly elected Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) and several other Republicans are sponsoring HB 1788 that would authorize teachers to carry guns at school.

Hilariously, here's their name for the bill:

Sec. 1. This act may be known and cited as the safer schools act of 2013.

Given the huge number of accidental shootings in this country, nothing could go wrong here.  (The latest is a 3-year old who killed himself picking up mom's unlock, loaded pink gun.  He thought he was a toy and who could blame him?)  And cops love multiple guns in a building - makes it so easy to figure out who the bad guy is.

And what is Section 2 of this act?

According to Article IX of the Washington state Constitution it is the paramount duty of the state to provide for basic education.

And fully funding schools falls further to the bottom of the list than ever so we can arm teachers. 

In other legislative news, Publicola gives details in this clear account here about McCleary and funding it.  Their information comes from the Washington State Budget and Policy Center (a lefty group).

Basically (and no surprises here as we go to the polls for two levies);

"Without [new] revenue, it’s inconceivable that we can make enough investments in education" to satisfy the mandate, Budget and Policy Center lobbyist Kim Justice said in a conference call with reporters this morning. "Schools rely too much on local funding to pay for things the state should be paying for." 

The new talking point about education in Washington State (this via the turncoat Rodney Tom) is that it's not HOW much money but how we spend it.  Nothing about the fact that our Legislature is okay that we don't even fund to the national average.  We don't have summer school or college/career counselors in high school or elementary school counselors in Seattle.  All because we have no money.  
I would LOVE for Senator Tom to tell Seattle Schools what he would spend less on and what he would spend more on.   


Diane Sekaquaptewa said…
Teachers Carrying Guns at School - That's a Paramount Duty? I like this keep the kids safe
CT said…
Perhaps King Rodney would give up his dry cleaning expenses to help fund schools.
Unknown said…
Who knew? I always thought that the Paramount Duty of the State was to make ample provision for the education of all students. I thought that meant funding. I guess I was wrong.

What's really scary is how many legislators signed on to sponsor this patently stupid and dangerous bill--11 representatives-including 1 Democrat.
dan dempsey said…
Here is a LINK to the safer schools act.

Here is what this act will allow ....

"The board of directors of a school district may adopt a written policy authorizing one or more permanent employees of a school located within the school district to possess firearms on school grounds." It goes on to list all the conditions that must be met for an authorized permanent employee to possess a firearm on school property.

Having taught in an isolated rural location with very little law enforcement and in a community with a lot of violence.... I have no difficulty with HB 1788.

Anonymous said…
Lunacy. The answer is less guns.

Anonymous said…
Yes, Hume. And the answer to drug abuse is "Just Say No." Period.

How's that worked out over the past three decades?

We can wish and hope for a perfect world, or we can deal with the one we live in today.

Democracy Mom said…
On the topic of "Fund Education First," that is one of the WA State PTA's "top five" issues to lobby the legislature for. If that bothers you, come to the October Legislative Assembly this year to vote this kind of thing down.

The Legislative Assembly is one of the few places where members of an association can set policy by voting.
Anonymous said…
Dear Hume,

I wrote:
"Having taught in an isolated rural location with very little law enforcement and in a community with a lot of violence...."

So in the next 24 months how do you propose to bring about "less guns" in rural areas that have an absence of law enforcement personnel?

As WSDWG wrote:
"We can wish and hope for a perfect world, or we can deal with the one we live in today. "

Try sitting on the floor with students in a lockdown drill in a slightly below ground level classroom with full windows. A crazed outside gunman could see nearly every square foot of this classroom. Law enforcement is often 30 minutes away. ... It was shockingly apparent that everyone in this classroom would be sitting ducks.

I think HB 1788 is perfectly appropriate for School Districts with certain situations like the above.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
"It makes the Republicans look great - we care about education, first and foremost - when we all know those cuts would be drastic ones especially to areas of social services which have already been slashed."

Fact: The constitutional rights of Washington students are being violated.

In the Erlich decision the judge made the point that the State had a legal obligation to honor contracts with retired employees and that the ample funding of schools by the state was constitutionally required. Everything else was a lower priority.

The talk about fully funding of education by 2018 has been just talk since the plan was approved as funding per student by the state declined in the first two years of the plan.

Fact: Without additional revenue cuts would be drastic to areas of social services which have already been slashed.

My point is that additional revenue is needed to fulfill constitutional obligations and provide needed services.

Writing an education budget first seems a whole lot better than what has been happening since the original Erlich decision.

-- Dan Dempsey
Lori said…
Dan, thanks for your perspective on HB 1788. I'm really glad to see civil conversations about guns that include multiple points of view.

I still have a lot of hesitations about this bill though. Statistically speaking, schools are still a very safe place for kids overall, and there is an abundance of evidence that having a loaded gun in the home increases the odds for violence (homicide and suicide). It seems reasonable to believe that this would translate into other environments where people spend large amounts of time, like school.

So what I struggle with is that we are trying to solve a very rare problem (the mass shooter inside a school) by making the school environment more dangerous. I'm not thinking at an individual school level here, but rather overall. And the mental math works out to me that for every one school shooter that might be intimidated or killed by an armed teacher, there's just likely to be many more innocent people injured in the long run by introducing civilian guns into schools. (this is exactly how the data on guns in the home pan out; you far more likely to injure or kill yourself or a loved one than to ever use your gun to kill an intruder)

And I'm a little worried about liability. Can districts afford to insure against the possibility of someone using their gun in what they think is an appropriate scenario that turns out not to be? The armed teacher in the heat of the moment shoots a kid instead of a perpetrator. What happens then?
Who's responsible and liable?

I understand the desire to want to react this way and arm school staff, but I think it's an over-reaction that will only make things worse.
Anonymous said…
guns are not drugs, although they no doubt relieve anxiety and insecurity in some people. why do gun people always use analogies? the answer is to take all guns out of circulation except for law enforcement. yes you will still have shootings, like in norway, but not the daily carnage and regular massacres we experience here. disarm the public, its as simple as that. until that happens there will continue to be thousands of gun deaths a year. to think that more guns will somehow save lives flies in the face of statistical evidence. it just ain't so.

Anonymous said…
Roger wrote:
" to think that more guns will somehow save lives flies in the face of statistical evidence. it just ain't so"

OK what evidence?

The classroom I referenced was in McDermitt, NV. near the Ft. McDermitt Indian Rez.

My thoughts would have been similar to Lori's thoughts had I not been to McDermitt.

In 2008 in Winnemucca, NV (75 miles from McDermitt) a shooting began that could have led to a large number of deaths. The shooter was shot dead by an armed bystander after the shooter shot his first two victims.

May 25, 2008
Deputies say about 2:25 a.m., 30-year-old Ernesto Villa Gomez walked into the bar and starting shooting. 20-year-old Jose Torres and his 19-year-old brother Margarito Torres were killed. When Villa Gomez was reloading his semi-automatic gun, a man from Reno took out a gun and shot Villa Gomez. That man has a concealed weapons permit.

The unidentified man who shot Villa Gomez is not expected to be charged in this incident; law enforcement call it a justifiable homicide.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Gun Facts:

Canada 24 guns per hundred persons.

Australia 15 guns per hundred persons.

United Kingdom 6.7 guns per 100 persons.

Japan 0.6 guns per 100 persons.

US Constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms. Is a constitutional amendment likely or even a good idea?

Check the facts HERE and then look at possible explanations for why Canada and Australia have lower gun deaths per capita rates than US.

Gun Homicides rate per 100,000 people.

3.60 :: US
0.50 :: Canada
0.17 :: New Zealand
0.09 :: Australia
0.04 :: UK

Canada has 24 guns per hundred persons and yet the Homicide death rate is 1/6 of the US rate.

Since the USA is not going to get rid of guns... a look at what Canada is doing might be a good starting place.


New Zealanders are as well armed as Canadians and have a gun homicide rate about 1/3 that of Canada's rate.

NZ :: 1.1 million firearms for 4.4 million people. 230,000 register owners.

The ratio of total Deaths by Guns to Homicides certainly confirms Lori's thoughts on fatal gun accidents.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Will K. said…
I would like to see all schools have at least two staff armed at all times. Fully trained, of course. It seems the front office needs one of these folks as they are the first line of defense. That may mean some ex police or military, but I would feel more comfortable knowing my child at least has some protection. One other staff, even a custodian, who could respond as needed to an incident armed as well. I don't want teachers with guns however and I don't want the kids to see the guns, so the staff needs proper handgun training and proficiency with their weapons. A roving armed patrol that went from school to school on a varying schedule would also help deter any shooters.

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