The Kern High School Board of Trustees was wrong to allow people with concealed handguns access to our schools and to our school events. They were wrong to portray what they were doing as simply protecting parents with CCW permits from inadvertently falling into an unintentional act of criminality by driving into a gun free zone while picking up their kids.
Let’s be clear, the KHSD Board of Trustees adopted a policy that not only gave access to the drive-through areas of our schools, but gave access to school offices, classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, play fields – to the entire school campus.
It gave people with guns access to football games, basketball games, forensics tournaments, even back to school nights and parent/teacher conferences. The policy adopted by the KHSD Board on June 27 was cynical, ideological, politically motivated and wide-sweeping. It was an attack on the fundamental safety of our kids and our employees.
Now, the KHSD Board is itching to give employees the right to bring handguns onto campus. They are looking at allowing teachers, counselors, administrators, custodians, all employees of the district who possess a CCW permit the right to bring their guns to school. Why?
The argument put forward by KHSD board members is that more guns equate to greater safety. The argument is utter nonsense. The logic fails under scrutiny.
The board either does not understand the intent of a CCW permit or hopes that the public doesn’t understand. The rationale for granting a CCW permit and the training required to attain the permit grows from the need for personal safety, not the desire to protect others.
Permit holders do not have the training required to protect other people in an active shooter scenario. The permit does not make anybody a police officer and the permit does not automatically insert holders into any law enforcement communication system. In a real situation where an active shooter is on school grounds holders of CCW permits would not be communicating with law enforcement and would become more of a liability than a benefit. To a police officer, a good guy with a gun looks a lot like a bad guy with a gun.
The board fails to acknowledge that active shooter scenarios are rare but that accidental discharges are not. One KHSD board member recounted a story to me of a meeting he attended where a CCW permit holder got his gun caught in the back of a chair while standing up. The gun fell to the floor and discharged. What if that had been a classroom, a school library, a school cafeteria or school auditorium?
The potential harm of inviting guns into densely populated schools greatly outweighs the improbable benefits. Board members seem primed to ignore the very real potential danger they would be placing over student and employee heads for the incredibly rare possibility that a single teacher will stand as the last line of defense. As a teacher, I’m not allowed to use cleanser to wash desks for the potential harm it may cause students, but guns are OK? It’s absurd.
The lack of interest board members have had in learning the crucial background information needed to make an informed decision on this issue has been disappointing. They seem perfectly at ease with blindly acting on an issue that can literally be described as life or death. The attitude of this board seems alarmingly arrogant, completely dismissive of student and employee safety and completely counterproductive to the direction parents want this district to go.
This issue demands serious thinking. It demands open and honest conversations with all stakeholders. This is not the kind of decision that should be made on a whim and it certainly is not a decision that should be based on ideological and political bravado. If our board members are sincerely concerned about school safety there are better ways to achieve it. Let’s dialogue on those alternatives as well.
It’s time for the KHSD board to leave the politics and the social engineering behind and get back to the business of teaching and back to helping students attain their dreams and fulfill their hopes. We’ve had enough lawsuits already.