A week ago, I wrote the following letter to our school district superintendent about school safety, in light of the Parkland, FL shooting and subsequent political posturing.
I would like you to meet my daughters, [redacted, redacted, redacted]. [ ] is 13, has been on swim team for several years (went to State last summer), loves her friends, and this year made the honor roll at [redacted]. [ ] is 11, has been a gifted athlete since preschool, and will use her big heart to most likely be a nurse, maybe in the military. [ ] is 8, has a wit quicker than her parents, loves fashion and cooking, and enjoys reading Harry Potter with her dad before bed. I present my daughters to you because if anything bad were to happen at school, you will know their names and faces.
You and I are husbands and fathers. This makes us no more an expert on gun policy than a school-shooting victim, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see the solution. So please think of this letter as a conversation between you and me, man-to-man across the kitchen table, using logic and deduction gleaned from research and empirical evidence.
Like neighborhoods across the country, we in Governors Ranch often exemplify community living when we help one another with our children — rides to activities, getting kids out of the street, reporting unacceptable behavior, etc. Naturally, this community includes schools. We give you our children for six to eight hours a day, approximately ten months out of the year. We trust you to give them the skills they need to make it in life and become productive adults. We know you are not their parents, but you do have a strong influence. And at the top of the list of things required by you is the protection of their physical well-being while in your care.
You do not tolerate abusive teachers, you do not tolerate rumors of strangers walking school grounds (e.g. lockdown at Governors Ranch Elementary October 30, 2013), so why would you let each Jefferson County school stand as a soft target for the real threat of an active shooter intent on killing children, teachers, and administrators? There is no logical argument in favor of sitting ducks.
We protect the following with guns in the hands of qualified people:
Physical cash transfers
Town hall meetings
School board meetings
City government buildings
Why are schools not on this list?
According to Colorado Senate Bill 03-024, all Colorado schools are permitted to designate any license conceal carry permit holder to carry on school grounds. It should be noted that this bill was signed into law in 2003. For 15 years, you have had the ability to protect our children and teachers with guns in the hands of qualified people but have made the active decision not to. This is unacceptable by anyone who cares about safety.
o Remove all Gun Free Zone signs from school properties, and place “These premises are protected by concealed carry permit holders and armed security.” This sign alone, even if untrue, will be a large deterrent to anyone considering harming students.
o Give teachers the option to a carry concealed weapon provided they pass the necessary training and background qualifications. This is a personal and confidential choice, and should not be influenced for or against by any other teacher, administrator, union representative, or District personnel.
o Given some of the challenges with female attire and concealment, allow finger coded or biometric (fingerprint) accessed gun safes in the classroom. These safes can be out in the open or hidden, and permanently installed.
You have the means and legal authority so I don’t just hope you protect my children, I expect you to.
I didn’t expect a lengthy back and forth resulting in any kind of personal resolution or pledge, but I was disappointed in receiving what amounted to a form letter. There will be a townhall meeting of sorts later this month, no doubt with armed security. We’ll see what happens.
Stay on your elected and appointed representatives; they respond to pressure. If you don’t speak up and do so politely but firmly, you can’t complain when things don’t go your way.
Image: CC0 Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/conference-public-speaking-2705706/