|Fist Dap (J.D. Crowe)|
According to a blog post on al.com by education reporter Crystal Bonvillian, a popular suggestion on The Times Facebook page has been to arm teachers, principals and office staff in wake of the most recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.
As a result The Times reached out to the Huntsville City Schools, and the Madison City Schools Superintendent's, to gauge their opinions on the suggestions.
Retired Army Colonel, and current Huntsville City Schools superintendent Casey Wardynski, who used to carry a gun himself, said he doesn't have a problem adding mystery to the equation, but he wouldn't arm teachers.
OK, here is one problem, Huntsville City Schools and the Huntsville Police Department presently have a longstanding cooperative relationship that includes full time School Resource Officers in all high schools and middle schools. Correct me if I am wrong, but the School Resource Officer(s) is armed with a gun, not non-lethal, but effective ways to temporarily disable a person.It could be someone else in the school, like a school resource officer, to carry a weapon. SROs are sworn law enforcement officers assigned to the schools by the agency they work for. Guns are not necessarily his first choice, either. Wardynski said district security officials could be armed with a Taser or pepper spray, both non-lethal but effective ways to temporarily disable a person.
Now, here is the bigger problem, it's illegal for SRO to be armed. Who knew?
The problem with the scenario of arming school officials, even with Tasers or pepper spray, is that it is illegal. School districts in Alabama cannot arm their security officials. The 1990 Federal Gun Free Schools Zone Act also makes it a felony for an unlicensed person to carry a gun into a school zone, defined as anywhere within 1,000 feet of a public, private or parochial school, excluding private property.As motivated gun buyers rush to buy $1,000 assault rifles in the city , I'm all for School Resource Officer(s) being armed, but only the School Resource Officer (s). As Madison City School Superintendent Dee Fowler said, It really comes down to the question of do we need more guns or fewer guns. I vote for fewer guns in the hands of those among hundreds of innocent children on a daily basis. But that's just me.