Home > Uncategorized > As Time Passes, Memory of Massacre in Florida Fades… and So Does Issue of Guns in Schools

As Time Passes, Memory of Massacre in Florida Fades… and So Does Issue of Guns in Schools

In the coming days, I will be devoting most of my posts to the issue of guns in schools for two reasons.

First, as will be noted in many of the posts, I am on an extended vacation to sites where internet access is unreliable and where I am choosing to spend my time away from mass media as much as possible.

Secondly, as the title of this post indicates, I have a sinking sense that the public’s attention is being diverted elsewhere. Part of the reason for that is emerging developments in the ongoing investigation into President Trump’s election, his roiling cabinet appointments, and his impulsive actions in international trade, immigration, and warfare. These diversions, I believe, will persist and the public will soon forget the impact that gun violence is having on the children attending our schools. Late last week, for example, an AP article reported on the action actions of the Vermont Legislature relative to gun violence. It appeared on the second page of our local newspaper near the bottom.

To their credit, the Vermont legislators took immediate action on a package of gun restrictions that includes raising the legal age for gun purchases, expanding background checks for private gun sales and banning high-capacity magazines and rapid-fire devices known as bump stocks.. But now, instead of investing in counseling and mental health services, the legislature appears to be on the brink of spending millions on “safety measures” including the hiring of retired police officers to work as armed school resource officers. The article quotes Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, Vt., who says the plan especially could benefit rural schools where police are often far away. “I think it’s vital that we take every step that we can to protect our students,” Sears said.

But the article then notes that the Agency of Education has a different take:

However Amy Fowler, deputy secretary of the state Agency of Education, said national studies have found schools with resource officers suspend and expel minority and low-income students at higher rates. She said she thinks school resource officers need more police training.

Adolescent development might be something that would be useful to them, conflict mediation, some training in restorative practices,” Fowler said.

The article goes on to note that the Vermont House “…has approved $5 million in funding as part of the capital budget to help improve school security,” a measure that requires Senate approval. As previous posts indicate, I am opposed to many of the “security measures” envisioned by this kind of legislation because it serve to reinforce fear in children and arguably leads to an environment more conducive to a police state that I would hope citizens want. “Hardening” schools is not the answer: softening the hearts of hardened student is. 

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