Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

April 7, 2013

Let’s think more about putting more guns in schools

Imagine an armed individual enters a school intent on havoc and mass death. Before that plan can be carried out, however, someone else within the school who’s equipped with a firearm shoots the intruder. Children are saved and a gunshot victim, for once, is deserving of the injuries sustained.

Mere months after the carnage at a school in Newtown, Conn., this is wish fulfillment of the highest order. It’s also plausible, so long as circumstances are near perfect.

Nonetheless, this newspaper thinks people with a stake in the well-being of our children — educators, school administrators, parents and lawmakers — need to think carefully about a proposal that gained ground this week in the Indiana Statehouse.

A bill endorsed in a 9-3 vote by the House Education Committee would make Indiana the first state in the nation to require armed employees at public and charter schools.

The Associated Press reports the proposal would require someone designated as a school protection officer, be it a police officer or staffer such as a principal or teacher, to carry a loaded gun at all times during regular school hours.

Reception to the House committee vote has been lukewarm, at best. It’s also prompted a sort of bipartisanship. Republican Gov. Mike Pence feels local school officials should make the choices about school security rather than be forced to have armed employees. Glenda Ritz, the Democratic state schools superintendent, has also voiced support for local control on the school security issue. We concur with them both.

The House committee-endorsed proposal has been tacked onto a Senate-approved bill that would launch a state grant program. That program would aid school districts in hiring police officers, and also purchase safety equipment.

In the end, though, local school officials would be tasked with implementing the mandate for armed personnel. They don’t lack for cause for concern, or food for thought.

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Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
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