MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (4/15/13) – The surprise retirement of Muhlenberg School Superintendent Dale Todd seemed to overshadow other issues presented during Thursday's meeting.
One major issue was the important cause of how to provide adequate child safety in area schools. In a time when mass school shooting sprees are becoming far too common, Jarrod Douglas, of Central City took the board meeting podium to voice his opinion on how to keep local children safe during school.
Douglas, and other members of the group 2nd Amendment Aware, or 2A-Squared.. a second amendment gun rights group based in the county, feel that training teachers and other school personnel in the use of concealed firearms could be part of the answer.
Douglas told the crowded meeting that, "In response to heightened concerns after the Newtown Shooting, I have a duty as a parent to provide a safe home for my children. When my children are in your care, (on the school bus or during school hours) you, then, accept that responsibility.
"Currently, aside from a couple of school resource officers, your facilities are protected by (only) a sign. You have been protecting my children, or children, with that sign and that statute for a number of years. It has been sufficient in the past, but fails to provide any resistance to a real threat. Currently within the Muhlenberg County Public School employee handbook, in the section titled “Weapons” I quote, 'Carrying, bringing using or possessing any weapon or dangerous instrument in any school building, on school ground, in any school vehicle, or at any school-sponsored activity, is prohibited. Except for authorized law enforcement officials, the Board prohibits carrying, concealed weapons on school property. Staff members who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action, including termination."
Douglas went on to say that, according to KRS 65.870, "No existing or future public or quasi-public agency, or board, or any person acting under the authority of any of these organizations may occupy any part of the field of regulations (regarding) possession, carrying, storage, or transportation of firearms (or) ammunition." Douglas continued.
"We are requesting that you adopt a policy that will allow law abiding citizens, who are district employees, and volunteers, to make the choice, and not limit their right to self-protection, or ability to protect another, mainly my children, or your children. Then the children that we, in this community, entrust to your care on a daily basis, will be provided real resistance to the madmen, the evil ones who want to go out in a blaze of glory." Douglas added.
The board's response seemed to be one of "wait and see", as they gather more information regarding the feasibility of school staff or security volunteers to carry guns on school grounds.
Board chairman Don Richey thanked Douglas for his idea, but was reluctant to go further pending public input, and a wide range of considerations, including how such a plan would deal with after hours, non-school-related functions and the fact that even now students outside on school property are susceptible to events such as drive-by shootings. They did however say they would review the idea.
In closing, Douglas told the board, "Do we expect for you to make these changes immediately? No. Do we expect for you to confer with your attorney? Yes. Do we expect for you to do the responsible thing? Absolutely.”
Douglas later told Surfky.com News that the group 2A-Squared "would be willing to pay the cost of concealed weapon permit training for a certain number of school employees. I appreciate some people have strong negative feelings about this issue, but the facts don't support that irrational fear. The facts do support that a bad guy with a gun is only stopped by a good guy with a gun. The superintendent does not have the authority to violate policy. Ambiguity within the policy only produces confusion. However the law is clear and the board is now aware."
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