Mountain Star

School Board Considers New Handgun Policy

The+LCSD2+School+Board+has+proposed+a+new+handgun+policy+for+staff+members.
The LCSD2 School Board has proposed a new handgun policy for staff members.

The LCSD2 School Board has proposed a new handgun policy for staff members.

The LCSD2 School Board has proposed a new handgun policy for staff members.

Jackson Day

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There have been 36 school shootings in the United States so far this year. This fact has caused a major uproar throughout our country as principals, superintendents, and politicians push to provide a solution to the problem. Some individuals advocate for stricter firearm laws, while others defend their constitutional right to bear arms. Some schools are adding advanced security systems, using metal detectors and searching students as they enter the school; others take little to no action to prevent a worse worst-case scenario sort of situation. Through all this turmoil, the Star Valley School Board has proposed a new Firearm Policy which outlines a policy that would allow school district employees to carry a firearm on school property.

At this moment in time the new policy is nothing more than a proposal, meaning it has not been voted on by the school board. On Friday, October 5th, all Lincoln County School District 2 employees were invited to participate in a survey covering the new Policy. The survey was completed on Thursday, October 11th, revealing that a majority LCSD2 employees support the new policy. According to the survey, 75% of our district staff support carrying firearms, leaving a much smaller 25% who oppose the action. The strong support stays constant across the board as 75% of the staff are willing to participate in firearms training and 76% are comfortable knowing a colleague may be carrying a concealed firearm; however, only 43% of the staff expressed a willingness to carry a firearm themselves. It may be possible that passing new policy to carry handguns may not even be necessary considering the survey revealed that only 10% of district staff feel our school’s safety needs improvement, while the other 90% already feel our schools are safe.

Mrs. Margaret Hart in the main office supports the new handgun policy saying, “I really want [a handgun]. I mean, I sit right here [at the front doors]… we’re kinda sitting ducks, Mary and I.” In that regard it makes sense to have handguns on our school premises. It could be said that Mrs. Hart is our first line of defence, and she may need a way to protect herself. Mrs. Robyn Johnson shares a similar opinion, simply replying, “I do” when asked if she supports firearms within the school. Many teachers believe that having firearms within the school is beneficial.

“It scares me because just having guns in the school is scary. For all we know there’s some big boys here who could wrestle it from a teacher,” said senior Josie Curry

Mr. Winston Patterson is a bit more skeptical of the new policy. Patterson voiced concerns that teachers carrying handguns may harm teacher-student relations as students may be more afraid to approach and ask for help from a teacher who may be carrying a concealed weapon. For many teachers there are too many risks involved with carrying a weapon. Mr. Kelly Fullmer is against the new policy believing it puts teachers and students at risk. Fullmer said, “If there was a shooting and I got involved, I’d be afraid of accidentally hitting a student. The shooter may not even cause any injuries, but I may accidentally shoot 3 trying to ‘help.’’’

Students of Star Valley High School seem to have split views on the subject too. “It scares me because just having guns in the school is scary. For all we know there’s some big boys here who could wrestle it from a teacher,” said senior Josie Curry. She continued to explain that the thought of some teachers with “stricter personalities” carrying firearms worried her a little.

“I can’t think of any [teacher] I’d be nervous about if they had a gun, but there are some I’m more comfortable with than others,” added senior Miah Atwood. Both Curry and Atwood expressed that the new firearm policy may be a positive deterrent, but also poses a risk to teacher-student relations. Sophomore India Romero supports the proposed policy but is hesitant to say so as teachers having handguns intimidates her. “They’re just so much bigger than me, and older than me, and they could just sit there in front of the class, and pull a gun,” worried Romero. Sophomore Alicyn “Ali” Brasseaux is concerned that there are people that “would become teachers just to carry out a terrorist attack.”

All of the students spoken to reported feeling safe here at Star Valley High School, with many referencing the lockdown that took place last school year. Sophomore Brylee Picco explained she feels safe at school due to our district’s regularly scheduled drills and prepared staff. For many students, like Brasseaux, “little things like having all the doors—except the ones by the office—locked are enough to make [them] feel safe.” Students seemingly agree with the staff of our district that our school is already very safe.”There’s no way to weigh the risks of gun violence. The thought of gun violence worries me a bit, but it doesn’t distract me. It’s not something we should be at ease about, but I feel safe coming school,” concluded Curry.

There are risks when it comes to having firearms on a high school campus and whether or not to allow it must be a difficult decision for the school board to make.  “As a principal, they make me really nervous, . . . but, as a principal, you respect your community and you do what you can to protect the kids as the community sees the need to. . . . It’s appropriate to listen to the teachers, and the parents, and all the other stakeholders and listen to what they think is best,” said school principal Homer Bennett.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “School Board Considers New Handgun Policy”

  1. kyler allred on November 8th, 2018 3:35 pm

    It’s about time they start talking about it. Most of the shootings could have been stopped if the teachers would have had some type of gun. I bet if teachers were to start caryying some type of gun the students would feel safer in the school.

  2. India Romero on November 19th, 2018 6:55 pm

    As I said I’m only like, 5’2 and guns I guess just make all those 5’7 and taller teachers seem a little more intimidating. But I agree Kyler. Something needs to happen. 36 school shootings this year, in America. Just blows me away. Anyway I can get over that fear. Teachers intimidation is nothing compared to my friends dying in my arms, my friends and family mean everything to me. Something needs to be done.

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School Board Considers New Handgun Policy