Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Back in late December, Arizona's Attorney General who still believes he is the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom "banned for life by the SEC" Horne, came up with the "genius" (sic) idea of training and arming volunteer principals or other top administrators at every public school because, by God, we just can't afford to pay trained police officers. Horne calls for armed principals. You will recall that this was the policy proposal of the NRA in the immediate aftermath of the massacre of first graders and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Newtown, Connecticut.
"Tommy Boy" got wingnut Rep. David Stevens (R-Sierra Vista) to sponsor this NRA bill. Arizona bill would allow principals, teachers and janitors to have guns on campus:
Attorney General Tom Horne and Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, are pushing a plan to let principals, teachers and janitors at public schools carry guns.
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Stevens stressed nothing in HB 2656 requires any school district to go along. He said it simply provides an option, with locally elected boards having the final decision.
Stevens also said it is less expensive than providing an armed police officer in all of the approximately 2,000 public school buildings across the state. And with cost a non-issue, the legislation shouldn't get bogged down in overall budget negotiations.
[You will recall that Tommy Boy's original proposal also did not propose paying these school employees more pay for their double-duty as peace officers. Nosiree, they have to buy their own weapons and armor. I would really love to hear an assessment from the school district's risk management office how this is going to affect the school district's liability insurance policy.]
Andrew Morrill, president of the Arizona Education Association, said it's a mistake to believe school employees with just 24 hours of training can replace a properly trained officer.
"What I hear is passing the buck on training until we get it down to an affordable model," he said.
School resource officer training requires a licensed police officer, with added training "to know how to be a police officer on the unique beat of a campus full of children, adolescents, preteens and teens," Morrill said. Stevens' measure "waters down" safety and taking a comprehensive approach, he said.
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To carry a weapon onto campus, an individual would need to pass a 24-hour course. Issues to be covered include the legal situations where someone can use deadly force, and the care, maintenance and safe handling of weapons. There also is a mandate for marksmanship training and "scenario-based training."
[It would also require a change to federal law regarding gun-free school zones. School personnel are not qualified School resource officers.]
Districts would have to provide the Attorney General's Office with a list of employees who are authorized to use a gun.
Horne said he believes 24 hours of training is enough.
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Horne said if it were up to him, he would prefer to have police officers rather than armed teachers, but the political and fiscal reality is that that isn't going to happen.
So this is better than nothing, Horne said.
Well, no, actually, it isn't. This is a half-ass response from a legislature that will not provide adequate funding for school resource officers because they do not believe in taxes, or public schools. Relying on Barney Fife with an NRA training course and a Superman complex is a really bad idea.
"Under the plan, the staffer would not be walking around the school armed. Instead, he or she would lock the weapon up in a place where it would be accessible if needed." Uh-huh. I don't know about you, but every school campus I ever attended covered acres with multiple buildings.
So if Barney Fife is walking his rounds in the 300 building, and psycho shooter busts in the administration building on the other side of campus where Barney Fife's gun is stored in a locked locker, how exactly is this supposed to deter the psycho shooter? And you should assume that psycho shooter is more heavily armed than Barney Fife and wearing body armor, and is more likely than not to have a "suicide by cop" death wish. There is no deterence to such a determined psychopath.
There are other serious flaws with this NRA bill. The NRA’s flawed school-security proposal.
Andrew Morrill said the problem with this legislation, and similar plans, is they are knee-jerk reactions to headlines and are not well thought out.
"These horrifying situations come up like in Connecticut or Colorado, and they're unthinkable," he said. "And all of a sudden, those are the situations we base our responses on. What we need are comprehensive safety plans for the day-in, day-out safety of students."
That would include not just school safety officers, he said, but ensuring there are sufficient counselors to deal with students, school psychologists to diagnose students who might be struggling with anger issues and "an aggressive anti-bullying campaign."
Mr. Morrill is correct, it is a knee-jerk reaction from Tommy Boy. As I said back in December, "This is just a knee-jerk response from Tom Horne who has been a stooge for the NRA throughout his political career. He is seeking to curry favor from the NRA for his almost-dead dream of running for Governor in 2014. No serious thought went into this proposal." It is a sick joke.