Last updated on 2013.04.13
Josh Verges notes that Superintendent Pam Homan has declined to stake out a position on House Bill 1087, the school gunslinger bill signed into law by our Governor.
But watch the video Verges provides of the Chamber forum of school superintendents from last Friday. Homan says some silly things, like that the school gunslinger bill was "certainly well-thought-through." But she stops short of supporting the bill.
The other eight superintendents at the dais offer comments ranging from similar caution to outright condemnation. Not one of these education professionals says, "Yes, arming teachers and volunteers is a good idea for school safety."
- Brandon Valley Supt. David Pappone says he supports a comprehensive study of school security issues, which the Legislature rejected (what was that about this legislation being "well-thought-through" Dr. Homan?). He notes that, given the use of "local control" as a rallying watch-word, there are hundreds of pages of state regulations that schools might not mind deciding, if the Legislature would let them. Pappone says he'd be surprised if his district adopted the school gunslinger program.
- Harrisburg Supt. Jim Holbeck notes armed guards at Columbine and Red Lake didn't stop those school shootings. He worries that the "hysteria" in what some people want to do will harm our civility. Holbeck says "I don't want my grandkids to grow up in a police state or the Wild West."
- West Central Supt. Jeff Danielson says he doesn't want his children to believe that the only way to be safe is to have somebody packing a weapon.
- Sioux Falls Catholic Schools Supt. Tom Lorang sees no rush to put this issue on his board's agenda. He says the current resource officer at O'Gorman seems adequate.
- Sioux Falls Lutheran Supt. Tia Esser noted that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says legislation like HB 1087 seems like a marketing opportunity for gunmakers. She says she polled her teachers and found not one is interested in carrying a gun.
- Sioux Falls Christian Supt. Jay Woudstra says supplementing their school resource offier with armed gunslingers à la HB 1087 will not be happening in his building any time soon.
- Lennox Supt. Robert Meyer testified against HB 1087 in Pierre. He's still against it, saying HB 1087 puts guns in the hands of people with limited training and the wrong mindset. He says the bill isn't about local control and that its potential for creating problems is greater than its potential for solving any. HB 1087 was amended into a better form than the original, but "you can't amend poor legislation into good law."
- Tri-Valley Supt. Michael Lodmel said the local control aspect of HB 1087 kept his district from actively opposing the bill. However, he doesn't foresee his school using HB 1087.
That's nine professionals saying HB 1087 is unnecessary for their districts. Readers, I ask you to keep your ears open for any local superintendent or school board that supports and plans to implement HB 1087.
Update 2013.04.13 12:08 MDT: Also unenthusiastic about implementing HB 1087 in their schools: the superintendents at Waubay and Webster, as well as Day County Sheriff Barry Hillested.