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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Opinion

Texas school district arms staff in effort to protect students


Shamrock, Texas takes its schooling seriously. Last week, Shamrock Independent School District spent over $100,000 bolstering security cameras, reinforcing windows and arming staff members who can legally point a gun.

They’re not the first school district to consider doing this, and they won’t be the last.

In July, a similar-minded group in Arkansas found the funds to arm more than 20 certified teachers and staff members. Dallas’ Palmer ISD progressed with its interior armaments late last month. Last year, President Obama pledged to crutch public school security funding with more than $45 million.

These big ideas made it to the small town of Shamrock. KTNV claims “the school board voted unanimously this summer to allow trained staff members to carry firearms on campus,” and it’s an argument that’s not at all contestable, at least not in light of very recent history.

Plus, it makes sense. If you are on the school board of a small town in Texas, chances are you’ve got at least one child in the school system, if not two. With at least one child in the school system, you’d find yourself very much invested in the approach the town takes to reinforcing its security.

You’d go to great lengths to see to the stabilization of said security, meaning there can be no slip-ups — no opportunities for mistakes. This is a vote that’s come more than a decade after Columbine in 1999 and less than a year since the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Neither of these is an incident you’d want to repeat, and both would be prominent on your radar.

In this scenario, opposition to arms in schools is a form of dissidence in itself, because, really, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you wouldn’t have anything to lose with the precautions. A vote against security becomes a vote against the good of the town. All of a sudden, the school board position becomes the least of your worries.

But the fact that there wasn’t even one person willing to contest arms in schools should be at least a little disconcerting. A majority negation would’ve been inconceivable, while a realistic opposition to the proposal would’ve been slightly less likely.

But not even one? Out of all of the board’s representatives, in a public school district that presumably isn’t championing bloody retaliation as a means of making ends meet, there wasn’t a single conscientious objector — not even one lone contrarian.

It’s a little unhealthy — even a little scary. But with this week’s middle school shooting in Virginia and the general influx of intermediate violence, the only thing scarier is what’s at stake. The fact that this is even on the table. The fact that we even have to make this choice.

Senior staff columnist Bryan Washington is an English junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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