KHSD Trustees

The Kern High School District board needs to reconsider this state of affairs.

File Photo

Just hours before the Kern High School District is scheduled to vote on a contentious policy allowing teachers to apply to carry a gun, there’s been an outpouring of concern from community members, staffers and the teachers association.

Board President Mike Williams called for a special meeting to be held at 2 p.m. today with 26 hours notice. That’s legal, except community members and at least one trustee say the meeting gives the appearance of a lack of transparency and poor governance.

The meeting was in part called because Trustee Chad Vegas, a proponent of the policy, will be leaving office in two weeks and replaced by Joey O’Connell. Opponents say it’s a way for the board to secure a “yes” vote before a change in leadership.

Beyond that, many of the teachers who would be impacted by the decision would still be in class and unable to attend. If approved today, teachers and other certificated staff members with Concealed Carry Weapons permits would be allowed to bring their guns to campus.

Since the announcement Wednesday at noon, roughly 229 people have signed a petition calling for the district to become a gun-free zone, opponents organized by the Dolores Huerta Foundation are planning a protest at 1 p.m. and the Kern High Teachers Association is calling for the board to postpone the vote until a regularly scheduled board meeting.

“We ask that the KHSD Board of Trustees postpone any action on this policy recommendation until the public has had an opportunity to thoroughly view it, weigh it, and has had an opportunity to comment on it at a regular public meeting,” the Kern High School Teachers Association Executive Board said in an emailed statement to members.

By acting now, the district is giving the impression of “an organized effort to procure Trustee Vegas’ vote and may raise a Brown Act violation concerns whether warranted or not,” the board added, referencing the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. Teachers Association officials are requesting Vegas recuse himself from the meeting.

Several other teachers have emailed the district individually, calling on the board to postpone the vote.

“I respectfully submit that the action proposed by the KHSD Board concerning guns on campus which involves calling a special meeting held at a time that no KHSD employee can attend to comment will be in violation of the Brown Act,” KHSD teacher Terri Richmond wrote to the board Thursday morning.

The Kern Education Justice Collaborative is also calling for a protest, arguing that the policy being voted on Thursday does not address mental health issues that people with CCW permits may have, that the presence of guns increases the risk of homicide and that gun violence disproportionately impacts students of color.

Williams is defending his decision.

“While it is always the preference of all the trustees to handle this motion in a regular board meeting, we believe that it is time to have this board vote on the issue. Waiting until the next regular meeting, with a new trustee coming on board that hasn’t considered the issue would be unfair to him and the community,” Williams said in a prepared statement.

The board has been discussing the matter for 10 months, tasking Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Brenda Lewis with researching the policy, including sending her to Texas to observe a firearms training camp.

Despite the appearance of a rush vote, board members have held seven meetings on the topic and heard from 30 members of the public and a committee of experts on the matter, Williams said.

“Most of the board has expressed that they are ready to vote on a motion after studying the issue and receiving considerable input from the community for nearly a year,” Williams said.

Tags

(6) comments

Jack99

Race is being involved because the Dolores Huerta group is involved. Race is there standby operating mode. They have the nerve to say people like her can not be racist. Would like to see some facts about the twenty something mass shootings by concealed carry holders, can we say propaganda.

Nevermind

Well, I'm betting when Supervisors do teacher performance evaluations, there will be less unsatisfactory check marks. Lol

iaz28girl

For the teachers who don't like it, don't get a CCW. I don't understand why race is even being brought up. This is about protecting teenagers at school in the case of a shooter scenario. Gun free zones are just a gigantic welcome sign for attacks. All these protesters are trying to do is postpone the inevitable. Also, I resent the comment about CCW holders and their mental health as if they are the murderers and thugs. Many CCW holders are also NRA members and its not NRA members committing crimes and committing murder. Good luck with your incomplete and unproven argument!

Nevermind

Well, since 2007 there have been 29 mass murders (3 or more victims) commited by CCW holders. Also, the NRAs top lawyer was once convicted for shooting his girlfriend's mom. So does it prove they are more or less violent? No......it proves they are just as succeptible to human foibles as anyone else, and not all of them are potential heroes. I know lots of teachers, some I would not send my child to school knowing that person was packing. Some are incompetent with a gun, some are sociopathic, some don't perform well under stress, some are having affairs with other teachers etc etc. If 99 out of 100 teachers are great under pressure, they make sure their guns dont get in the hands of kids or discharges accidently, and are not mad at a co-worker, that one lone teacher could cost the District 10s of millions.

Churchillis1

I will actually make this very easy for you. Provide a link to ONE, not 29, mass murders committed by a CCW holding individual.

Your pants are on fire, pal.

GaryJohns

Lock and Load, baby...

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.