• Author Joanne Yatvin, Deb Mayer

Children, Teachers, Schools, and Guns


PAAO supports the March 24th March for Our Lives in communities across the country. We support the students who have organized this event and will not back down from their demands of passing sensible gun control legislation. Arming teachers is not sensible, nor will it make schools safer. In Portland, the march will begin in the North Park Blocks. Find other events in Oregon here.

Parents Across America fiercely opposes any effort to arm teachers against intruders, an irrational plan that is clearly designed to avoid the essential, thoughtful policy decisions about gun control that most Americans want, and that must be made in order to more effectively protect our children from the growing threat of mass school shootings. Read more about PAA's position on arming teachers at the PAA website.

Below is the latest in a series of articles by PAAO member Joanne Yatvin originally posted at the Treasure Hunter blog.

The series includes:

Let’s Think About Saving Our Children instead of the Gun Manufacturers

How Can We Make Schools Safer Without Putting Guns in the Hands of Teachers?

Why Teachers Shouldn’t Carry Guns

How to Protect Schools in Times When They Are Popular Places to Get Revenge

Right after the tragic attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida I wrote about possible changes in schools to create greater safety for students and teachers. But at that time I was thinking about small schools like the ones where I had been the principal. Now, after reading more about the killer, Nicklas Cruz, the size of the high school he attacked, and the neglect of the FBI and local police to do anything to avert the tragedy, I favor a different approach to the possibility of future attacks on schools.

In these times when so many people have guns and so many schools are vulnerable to attacks like the one in Florida, it seems clear to me that any large school needs a full time Security Guard. Such a guard is necessary not only to confront any invader, but also to be familiar with students and teachers and gain their trust.

The intelligence, persistence and likability of a Security Guard are extremely important. He or she would need those qualities to be the one who first hears about any threats to a school’s safety, investigates them, informs and advises the principal, and alerts the local police department. Yes, it is a big job, but he or she is the one most qualified to do it.

If you look at examples of school attacks over the years you will see that the attackers appeared to be ordinary people, but instead were deeply damaged and willing to sacrifice their lives and the lives of others who happened to be handy. In addition, most of them had hinted to friends or family members about what they sought to do, just as Nicolas Cruz did.

We should also understand why not all the school attackers are personally connected to a school. It is the place they choose because it is most likely to provide a large number of potential victims, enclosed in a hard to escape place, and not likely to have any power to fight back.

In preparing to write about my views of a school tragedy and how it might best be averted in the future, I did some research about attacks on schools in the past. The article that I most appreciated described school shootings that took place over three centuries. Not only did it list how many people were killed or injured each time, it also made clear the shooters’ motivations and their willingness to die rather than “forgive and forget”. The title of the article is “List of School Shootings in the United States” and it can be found here.

#MarchforOurLives #guncontrol #TreasureHunter

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