Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 17, 2013

Committee on school safety meets for first time

FRANKFORT — Kentucky hasn’t had a school shooting since 1997 but lawmakers know parents are the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., has school safety on everyone’s mind.

A special House subcommittee on school safety met for the first time Thursday “for discussion purposes only,” just one day after President Barack Obama called for limits on the availability of assault weapons and requiring background checks on all gun sales.

The subcommittee heard recommendations from law enforcement consultants, a school resource officer, and a state education official.

All agreed more should be done to make schools safe. And nearly all of them agreed one thing not to do is to arm teachers and school officials.

Nearly all.

Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, one of the co-chairs of the subcommittee, told Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, he lives in “Hatfield-McCoy country. We like carrying our guns.”

After the meeting, Hall told reporters: “I am advocating that the principals in each school, we should have the conversation, should they get and be trained to obtain a CDW (concealed deadly weapon) license?”

He said he couldn’t help but wonder if the principle at Sandy Hook had been armed might she have stopped the heavily armed man who killed her and murdered so many children.

But Akers, two law enforcement consultants and two educators on the subcommittee said that’s not a good idea.

“As a teacher, as a parent, as a policy maker,” said Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, who teaches at Taylor County, “arming teachers? Bad idea.”

“I don’t think any teacher, particularly those teachers in K through 5, really any teacher, would be comfortable ‘packing,’ ” said Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, who taught high school until his retirement this past June. And no matter how well-trained teachers are, Graham said, school kids are inventive enough to find a way to get hold of the gun.

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