A Moment of Silence

As a teacher, I was stunned at the horror and marveled at the bravery that took place up in an Elementary School in Connecticut on Friday.  It is inevitable that when a tragedy like this happens, that gun control enters into the debate.  I have always been a believer in the phrase, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people”, but this simplistic statement lacks the depth of conversation that this tragedy deserves. 

I am a gun owner, and I am licensed to conceal.  Even I have a difficult time determining if a school is the right place to carry.  As it stands, Georgia law prevents me from carrying a firearm into school and I am thankful that I am allowed to leave my piece locked up in the car in the parking lot.   I am also at a school with a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO), but I know that they SROs are only at middle and high schools here in Hall County.  Until recently, I wondered if the SROs were a productive use of tax payer dollars; now I wonder if they will become a requirement at all schools. 

I have never liked deferring my safety over to the police or SROs.  I have to wonder, however, if an environment with a bunch of 12-15 year old boys is a good place to pack a gun.  I know that several teachers have had purses and other private property stolen.  I would hate for my weapon to end up in the wrong hands.  But there is something to be said about having more than one person with the ability to defend the wellbeing of the kids.  If, by ducking shots, a person with bad intentions is at least delayed, I have to believe that lives would be saved.   

It is time for a serious conversation concerning the safety of our kids, but I don’t think that gun control is the answer.  It is my hope that we look at all options, including some that might make us uncomfortable, like arming teachers or administration.  While I observe my moment of silence in honor of those at Sandy Hook, I can’t help but to think about what I would do if the same thing happened in Hall County while my gun was locked up out in the parking lot. 

Schools Out

  4 comments for “A Moment of Silence

  1. Dukes
    December 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

    According to an article in The Gainesville Rag back in 2009 (See http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/archives/14694/),
    “Under an arrangement started a decade ago, the Hall County school system pays 70 percent of the salaries of its school resource officers; the sheriff’s office pays the remainder. The total cost for all 13 officers and related expenses is $861,000; the school system pays $603,000 of that.” Using those 2009 figures, each officer seems to cost a total of $66,230.77 with the school system’s portion running $46,384.62 per officer. And mind you, those are 2009 figures.

    The county now has 34 school locations in all. If an SRO were to be placed at each school, it would reason the cost to the school system would be (based on 2009 figures and the same cost sharing arrangement) $1,577,077.08 per year. The sheriff’s office portion would run $2,251,846.18. That’s a combined total of $3,828,923.26. Almost 4 million dollars to place SROs at each of Hall County’s 34 educational institutions.

    Now I’m not one to put a price tag on a life, especially the innocent life of a 5 year old Kindergarten student. But taking a look at these figures, maybe – just maybe, Roscoe P. Coaltrane should come out of retirement and set up a few training sessions at the shooting range for our principals and administrators.

    • GT183
      December 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      It seems like every time there is a crises, government makes an excuse to grow. Look at 9/11. Look at the courthouse shooting in Atlanta. I agree with Dukes, this looks like an excuse for a jobs program.

    • Schools Out
      December 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      I am not sure how I feel. Even with the SRO, I would like the ability to arm myself, but I understand that there are other issues at play. I can’t help but to think that the money that goes to the SROs may provide a layer of safety, but SROs don’t do anything to contribute to the education of the children.

      I guess more SROs means more furlough days.

  2. Curious
    December 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I feel horrible for the families in Conn. I am curious how Hall County and City of Gainesville Schools will react. Key word REACT. SRO’s do not exist in Hall Co Elementary Schools.

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