by Debi Sporleder
Schools shootings — spawned by societal violence or easy access to guns? Those saying the former often blame violence in movies as provoking a copycat mentality, that criminals will commit crimes no matter what. The latter group says access to guns is too easy, more restrictions are needed to reduce violence.
School districts across America are taking widely varying postions on school safety with regard to gun control issues. With that in mind, where do our local schools stand on the issue?
Dawn Olson, Superintendant of RE-1 school district says, “… preventing violence in our schools is an ongoing discussion in our safety committee meetings and ranges from the pro’s and con’s of concealed weapons on campus, facilities considerations, increased visibility of law enforcement, … bullying prevention, and ongoing work with students and families in partnership with other agencies. We have not taken a stance as a district at this time. The well-being of our students and staff is a high priority. We know that in schools and communities where there is a sense of belonging and success in learning, combined with the guidance from adults … there tends to be less violence.” The district is working hard to attain that goal.
Olson goes on to say, “We have not changed our policies in light of the current events surrounding school safety.” The District has implemented school safety procedures including drills with law enforcement and emergency management teams, and has updated security equipment. The District is also updating all policies, section by section. A safety committee has been formed to consider safety and emergency aspects of the district and school.
Bree Lessar, Superintendant/Principle of RE-2 school District says restrictions or changes in policy have “not discussed this at a board level yet, though we’ve had some interesting discussions among our ‘School Safety Taskforce’, which includes the local Marshal’s office, the Sheriff’s office, county office of emergency prep, EMTs, fire department, and district personnel”. She goes on to say, “We do not currently have plans to arm teachers or administration, though we have invited / requested the increased presence of our local and county law enforcement officers.
As to actors starring in violent movies, many have weighed in on their postion of gun control, several who use semi-automatic weapons in their movies.
Sylvester Stallone, who plays Rambo and has a new “Bullet to the Head” movie, “I know people get (upset) and go, ‘They’re going to take away the assault weapon.’ Who … needs an assault weapon? Like really, unless you’re carrying out an assault. … You can’t hunt with it. … Who’s going to attack your house, a (expletive) army?” “It’s unbelievably horrible, what’s happened. I think the biggest problem, seriously, is not so much guns. It’s that every one of these people that have done these things in the past 30 years are friggin’ crazy. Really crazy! And that’s where we’ve dropped the ball: mental health,” he said.(1)
Another stance is from Steven Seagal, a martial arts expert turned action movie actor who has been hired by “Sheriff Joe” in Arizona to train hand-to-hand combat to those assigned to provide armed protection to several schools in the Phoenix area.
In an interview with Erin Burnett of OutFront, Seagal says he grew up in Japan where any kind of firearms are completely forbidden and all the criminals had guns. If America would ban all the guns, it would not change a thing in terms of criminals being able to purchase a gun in an instant. Also, when asked how putting more guns in schools will help, he says it is the lack of training people in those situations who were unable to stand up and stop these shootings from happening. His stance is that our children are the most precious asset we as human beings have in society and any society who cannot stand up and protect these children will eventually fail. (2)
On that point, schools, the movie industry, and society should be able to agree, children are our most preciuous asset and should be protected.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward