When my kids were little, they couldn’t take a plastic knife, sword or gun to school if it came with their Halloween costume. In school plays, no fake weapons are allowed. Some kids get in trouble in South Dakota because they forget their BB gun or other hunting gun in their cars in the school parking lots, which is against the rules.
I understand why schools are strict about such things. It’s impossible sometimes to tell the difference between what is real and what is fake. In addition, schools don’t want to promote violence or potentially scare students who are afraid of weapons.
Everyone grows up with different social attachments to guns and violence. Many people around here think of guns as the mechanism needed to enjoy a hobby of hunting, target shooting or knocking down a row of cans off of a wooden fence. That’s perfectly reasonable. Others have experienced personal violence with weapons that have included fists and possibly guns. Banning all threats of weapons, fake or real, seems like the right thing to do in any school where children come from various backgrounds.
But now we’re looking at arming some of the very people who teach our kids — and earn their trust as role models — so that they could shoot anyone who threatens to harm or kill someone in a school. We all have images of school shootings in other states, and most recently, a bus shooting.
Talking with Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel last week, he brought up the question of what happens if we arm people within schools, will shooters move to the bus or recess, when children are playing or learning outside? Clearly, that already has happened.
School safety, better gun regulations and other acts of violence that include using guns are complicated issues. It doesn’t seem like adding more guns to prevent shootings is the real or only solution to school violence. And as with school shootings, which are horrific, unpredictable and fairly rare, we don’t know whether more volunteers carrying guns in school are going to be the solution or be an additional unfathomable problem.
People can be in favor of gun ownership and use and still be against arming school sentinels. The enemy is neither the gun owner nor the person who has no experience with fire arms. I think they’re on the same team.
What do you think about South Dakota’s sentinel plan? Should lawmakers give it final approval?