Kern High School District teachers are split over whether trained certificated staff members should be allowed to carry concealed firearms on campus, according to a survey of hundreds of faculty members obtained by The Californian.

About 30 percent of roughly 900 respondents said they strongly agreed teachers trained in gun safety should be able to carry on school grounds, while another 30 percent said they strongly disagreed, according to the anonymous survey administered by the Kern High School Teachers Association.

Roughly 15 percent agreed with the policy — though not strongly — while another 15 percent disagreed — again not strongly. The rest were neutral.

At the same time, more than 60 percent of respondents said that knowing non-employees carrying firearms on campus makes them feel less safe.

Exact percentages were not available. Certificated staff include anyone with a teaching credential.

The survey, which was administered in December and released to teachers Thursday, comes more than two months after Kern High School District trustees voted to allow teachers with Concealed Carry Weapon permits to bring their firearms to campuses, and about eight months after non-employees were granted permission. Superintendent approval is required.

Staff have not presented to the district board proposed guidelines for CCW-permitted teachers who want to carry. The board has approved rules for non-employees and at least 13 have secured permission.

The firearms policies are still a source of controversy. Just this week, protesters from the Dolores Huerta Foundation and other community groups brought a petition with more than 2,000 signatures to a district board meeting calling on trustees to reverse their decisions. The trustees who voted to approve the policy said it would improve public safety.

“I think in the end what you’re dealing with is people who have different world views about firearms,” KHSD Trustee Mike Williams, a proponent of the policy, said of the survey Friday. “You have people who feel firearms are evil and dangerous at all times or people who are comfortable with firearms and understand their danger and also their benefits.”

But the policies could create obstacles during contract negotiations, KHSTA Vice President Jesse Aguilar said, pointing to an article in the contract that ensures teachers have safe working environments.

For example, more than 70 percent of respondents said staff should be informed which non-employees carry firearms at school events.

“Our members really believe if somebody has a gun on their campus, they need to know who it is,” Aguilar said. “This idea of anonymity isn’t going to fly.”

The names of CCW permittees allowed to carry on campuses is a matter of public record. The Californian was provided a list not long ago after filing a records request.

When asked if certificated staff should be able to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds if law enforcement has determined they are not a danger to themselves or others, respondents were pretty evenly split as to yes or no. When the same question was posed about non-employees, they said no more strongly.

That's because “teachers trust each other," Aguilar said.

More than 70 percent of respondents said teachers ought to receive training above and beyond what’s required for a CCW permit. More than 60 percent said they should be informed of non-employees carrying firearms on campus.

District leaders said they would not allow any teachers to carry firearms on campus until after guidelines are written. At least 13 non-employees have been approved to carry under the rules the district has approved for them.

Dave Richmond, a Centennial High School history and government teacher, called the policy to allow firearms on campus “insane” earlier this year, and out of step with SB 707, the legislation that allowed the district to pass the policy.

SB 707, known as the Gun-Free School Zone Act, bars firearms on campus, except to those permitted by local superintendents.

“This emanated from a safe schools law, but they’ve found a loophole through the legislative process,” Richmond said. “I have a right to teach in a safe environment. My view is that more guns leads to less safe schools.”

Richmond now is refusing to attend any school event, parent-teacher conference or staff meeting unless he can be assured a CCW holder with a firearm won’t be there, he said.

Almost 60 percent of respondents said he and others shouldn’t be disciplined for that.

(7) comments

Churchillis1
Churchillis1

Here is a crazy idea:
The half that don't like the idea of teachers exercising their 2nd Amendment right are free to not carry a gun.
The half that do like the idea of exercising their 2nd Amendment right can be properly vetted and trained and carry their firearm accordingly.

You really get an idea of the perpetual intolerance and tyranny of one side of this issue when you realize that only one group is fine compelling the other group to do things their way or else. You will never hear a 2nd Amendment advocate DEMANDING that everybody own and carry a gun. You will often hear a gun control advocate DEMAND that everybody be disarmed like they themselves are.

"Intolerance" much?

Nevermind
Nevermind

Intolerance for teachers carrying guns in the classroom? Yeah. Are the teachers going to wear a holster? Are they going to keep in their desk? Are we sure vetting rules out potential problems? Are you guaranteeing me that thete are no more Chi Ferros, the former standout all American boy who was a track star at Kansas and the greatest cross country coach in Bakersfield history who shot his Supervisor multiple times in the face for a less than desirable performance evaluation? Do you think Vincent Brothers would have passed the vetting procedure before murdering his entire family? Are there any adulterous affairs on campus that could lead to violence? Personally I've known of several. Is KCHD capable of making judgements since they have to continually pay out judgements and their Administration criminally uses police records to spy on each other while the District fails in educating our kids. If one accident occurs how much will that cost taxpayers? What are the violent crime stats in our County High Schools. How many cases of shootings in our schools could have been stopped by an armed teacher? How good is a gun locked in a desk? How dangerous is an unlocked gun in a desk? How about KHSD stop snooping, quit worrying about stupid issues, and freaking start instructing our kids out of the academic mire. Kern High School students enjoy a math comprehension at literally HALF the rate of the rest of the state. Leave the guns to the police, and invest in some scientific calculators instead, because the math doesn't add up.

Churchillis1
Churchillis1

Every argument you made about teachers and their possible abuse of the guns could be used regarding police as well. Are there no adulterous affairs in Police Departments? No mentally unfit officers who will resort to violence? I make this argument dot to cast aspersions on the Police, but rather to prove that all of your concerns about teachers are without merit. However, unless you are truly a misguided soul, you never argue for all of the Police to be disarmed. Drop the fear tactics and feel free to NOT carry a gun if it so frightens you. However, many other adults are quite competent with their firearms, and they don't need your permission to defend themselves.
Why so much intolerance of people who feel differently than you? Why do you feel the need AND the justification to start casting doubts as to their ability to properly care for their firearms safely? And, while we are asking questions, use your buddy Google to find me the last time a CCW holder committed murder in the city of Bakersfield. Because it would take me about 17 seconds to find a high schooler in Bakersfield who has committed murder in the last two years...

GaryJohns
GaryJohns

Dave Richmond is, and always has been, a snowflake of the first water.....

yorkies2014
yorkies2014

KHSD Trustee Mike Williams should become a Trustee with his girlfriend Betsey and the two of them could run a well armed militia in their dream private charter school and leave the rest of us at peace.

Wim Laven
Wim Laven

I'm very concerned with this piece because it implies conclusions that cannot be determined based upon the information provided. While I do not expect news pieces to make a thorough accounting of methodology, I do expect some understanding of the claims that can (or cannot) be made to be applied. Most importantly, we don't know anything, from this piece, about sampling or response rates.

As far as guns on campus goes, we know that there is tremendous increase to insurance costs, and negligible change to safety, and a tendency towards a decrease in safety.

Nevermind
Nevermind

Why not. Everyone knows 100% of all teachers are in perfect mental health.

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.