UPDATE: AT TEXAS SCHOOL, SOME TEACH WHILE ARMED

 

 

Rex Curry for The New York Times
Barely 100 students attend classes at Harrold, a tiny town in north-central Texas. But the school board’s decision to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons has drawn national attention.
 
 
 
  •  
Published: August 28, 2008
 
 
HARROLD, Tex. — Students in this tiny town of grain silos and ranch-style houses spent much of the first couple of days in school this week trying to guess which of their teachers were carrying pistols under their clothes.
 
 
 
 
The New York Times
 
 

“We made fun of them,” said Eric Howard, a 16-year-old high school junior. “Everybody knows everybody here. We will find out.”
 
The school board in this impoverished rural hamlet in north-central Texas has drawn national attention with its decision to let some teachers carry concealed weapons, a track no other school in the country has followed. Their idea is to ward off a massacre along the lines of what happened at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.
 
“Our people just don’t want their children to be fish in a bowl,” said David Thweatt, the schools superintendent and driving force behind the policy. “Country people are take-care-of-yourself people. They are not under the illusion that the police are there to protect them.”
Even in Texas, with its long tradition of lenient gun laws and frontier justice, the idea of teachers taking guns to class has rattled some people and sparked a fiery debate.
 
Gun-control advocates are wringing their hands, while pro-gun groups are gleeful. Leaders of the state’s major teacher’s unions have expressed stunned outrage, while the conservative Republican governor, Rick Perry, has endorsed the idea.
 
In the center of the storm is Mr. Thweatt, a man who describes himself as “a contingency planner,” who believes Americans should be less afraid of protecting themselves and who thinks signs at schools saying “gun-free zone” make them targets for armed attacks. “That’s like saying sic ’em to a dog,” he said.
 
Mr. Thweatt maintains that having teachers carry guns is a rational response to a real threat. The county sheriff’s office is 17 miles away, he argues, and the district cannot afford to hire police officers, as urban schools in Dallas and Houston do.
 
The school board decided that teachers with concealed guns were a better form of security than armed peace officers, since an attacker would not know whom to target, Mr. Thweatt said. Teachers have received training from a private security consultant and will use special ammunition designed to prevent ricocheting, he adds.
 
Harrold is a far cry from the giant districts in major Texas cities, where gang violence is the main concern and most schools have their own police forces. Barely 100 students of all ages attend classes here in two brick buildings built more than 60 years ago. There are two dozen teachers, a handful of buses and a football field bordered by crops.
 
Yet the town is not isolated in rustic peace, supporters of the plan point out. A four-lane highway runs through town, bringing with it a river of humanity, including criminals, they say. The police recently shut down a drug-producing laboratory a ramshackle house near school property. Drifters sometimes sleep under the overpass.
 
“I’m not exactly paranoid,” Mr. Thweatt said. “I like to consider myself prepared.”
 
Some residents and parents, however, think Mr. Thweatt may be overstating the threat.
 
Many say they rarely lock their doors, much less worry about random drifters with pistols running amok at the school. Longtime residents were hard-pressed to recall a single violent incident there.
 
Others worry that introducing guns into the classroom might create more problems than it solves.
 
“I don’t think there is a place in the school whatsoever for a gun unless you have a police officer in there,” said Bobby G. Brown, a farmer and former school board chairman whose two sons were educated at the school. “I don’t care how much training they have.”
 
His wife, Diane Brown, added: “There are too many things that could happen. They are not trained to make life-and-death-situation judgments.”
 
Mr. Thweatt declined to say how many teachers are armed, or who they are, on the theory it would tip off the bad guys. He also declined to identify the private consultant who provided teachers with about 40 hours of weapons training.
 
Most critics question whether teachers, even with extra training, are as qualified as police officers to take out an armed attacker.
 
“We are trained to teach and to educate,” said Zeph Capo, the legislative director for the Houston Association of Teachers. “We are not trained to tame the Wild West.”
 
In general, Texas law bans guns on school property. But the Legislature carved out an exception allowing school boards to permit people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapons. No local district had taken advantage of the exception until the Harrold school board acted.
 
 
 
August 28, 2008    

Rex Curry for The New York Times

Harrold School Superintendent David Thweatt pushed for the policy to arm teachers with concealed guns. “Country people are take-care-of-yourself people.”
 
 
 

Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, said the state’s hands were tied. “We have really tried not to get involved in this,” Ms. Ratcliffe said. “Frankly, it’s a matter of local control.”
 
Mr. Thweatt, a former debate coach, seems to relish the attention the district has received.
 
He has appeared on national television to debate the issue with the leader of the Houston teachers union. He has given interviews to reporters from as far away as New Zealand, Italy and England.
 
As a general rule, the seven school board members — a collection of farmers and oil workers led by an ambulance medic — have referred all questions from reporters to Mr. Thweatt.
 
But one member, Coy Cato, gave a short interview. “In my opinion, it is the best way to protect our kids,” Mr. Cato said. Asked if others in the community shared his view, he added, “Well, I ain’t took no poll, but I think so.”
 
Still, several residents complained that the board made little or no effort to gather public opinion on the matter. Some said they did not hear about the plan until reporters started asking questions about it in early August.
 
Mr. Thweatt said the board discussed the proposal for nearly two years and considered several options — tranquilizer guns, beanbag guns, Tasers, Mace and armed security guards — but each was found lacking in some way. “We devil-advocated it to death,” Mr. Thweatt said.
 
That discussion went unnoticed by many parents, in part because the majority of students at the school have transferred from the larger towns of Electra and Vernon. Those families have no representation on the board.
 
Locals also felt out of the loop. Traci McKay, a 34-year-old restaurant employee, lives a quarter-mile from the school and sends three children there, yet said she had not heard a word about the pistol-carrying teachers until two weeks before the start of the semester.
 
 
She was stunned.
 
“I should have been informed in some way,” Ms. McKay said. “If something happens, do we really want all these people shooting at each other?”
 
Ms. McKay said that Mr. Thweatt had yet to explain to parents why a town with such a low crime rate needed to take such measures. She is afraid, however, that her children might face repercussions if she takes up a petition against the idea.
 
“We are pretty much being told to deal with this or move,” Ms. McKay said.
 
 
SOURCE:  The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com
 
************************************************************************************
 
 
 
 
“Our people just don’t want their children to be fish in a bowl,” said David Thweatt, the schools superintendent and driving force behind the policy.”
 
 
Well, before this insane policy, very few people, except those who lived in your town, as well as some in Texas, even knew of Harrold, Texas before this gun-policy was brought to the rest of America’s, and the world’s,  attention.
 
Now, you are living in a “fish-bowl”—–put there by your outlandish gun-policy to allow teachers to carry weapons.
 
 
“Harrold is a far cry from the giant districts in major Texas cities, where gang violence is the main concern and most schools have their own police forces. Barely 100 students of all ages attend classes here in two brick buildings built more than 60 years ago. There are two dozen teachers, a handful of buses and a football field bordered by crops.”
 
 
 
Now, riddle me this. . . .where are the rapacious gangs that are wreaking violence on this community? Where is the evidence of ferocious hordes of gangs moving into tiny Harrold?
 
 
 
“Yet the town is not isolated in rustic peace, supporters of the plan point out. A four-lane highway runs through town, bringing with it a river of humanity, including criminals, they say. The police recently shut down a drug-producing laboratory a ramshackle house near school property. Drifters sometimes sleep under the overpass.”
 
Yep……those horrible “rivers of humanity“, that have the audacity to drive through this one-stop town, not to mention the evil drifters who have the nerve to sleep under an overpass. The sheer gall of drifters and the rest of humanity to pass through Harrold. There out to be a law!
 
 
And just how did they deduct who was a criminal driving along this four-lane highway that runs through Harrold?
 
Did they take a Gallup Poll?  A Nielsen Rating?
 
 
Most (well, the majority of crimes) are committed by the people who live within that community, not by strangers, just as most crimes are committed by people whom the victim knew.
 
If anything, the people of Harrold should be more worried about who lives among them who can harm them, instead of strangers driving through.
 
 
“The police recently shut down a drug-producing laboratory a ramshackle house near school property.”
 
 
And just how many of those involved in that drug-producing laboratory were from outside the town/community?
 
Dollars-to-donuts, the druggies were more likely hailing from Harrold itself.
 
 
 
“Mr. Thweatt declined to say how many teachers are armed, or who they are, on the theory it would tip off the bad guys.”
 
 
 
And just who are the bad guys?
 
 
 
“We are trained to teach and to educate,” said Zeph Capo, the legislative director for the Houston Association of Teachers. “We are not trained to tame the Wild West.”

 
 
 
Damn straight. You are teachers, not pistol-packing gunslingers still living out in the Old Wild, Wild West. No matter how much some of your (ahem!) colleagues wish to convince themselves otherwise.
 
 
 
 
 
Texas gun laws ban the weapons on school property. But the Legislature carved out an exception allowing school boards to permit people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapons. No local district had taken advantage of the exception until the Harrold school board acted.”
 
 
Hmm.
 
 
According to the 2000 U.S. Census of Harrold, Texas, it is 78.17% White, with a Black population of  8.86%, Latino population of 24.54 %, Native American population of 0.63%, Asian  0.03-%, Other races, 9.73%.
 
Okey-dokey.
 
Now, if this was an overwhelmingly black school/county/town, would the teachers there be allowed to carry guns?
 
Somehow, I seriously doubt it.
 
 
 
 
“Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, said the state’s hands were tied. “We have really tried not to get involved in this,” Ms. Ratcliffe said. “Frankly, it’s a matter of local control.””
 
 
 
Oh, really. But, you forget, dear madam, that it was the state legislature of Texas which wrote this lunatic loophole to allow teachers to carry guns on their persons, or have you conveniently forgotten that.
 
“It’s a matter of local control”….well, it will now  be out of control with guns allowed on this school’s campus.
 
 
 
 
 
“Gun-control advocates say, however, that while the school district may be complying with state gun laws, it appears to be violating the education statute. That law says “security personnel” authorized to carry weapons on campuses must be “commissioned peace officers,” who undergo police training.”
 
 
 
 
“Security personnel” are the only ones who should pack heat, not teachers. Teachers are there to teach, not worry if the gun they have strapped to them may go off and shot them in the foot, or they decide to take it off, and absent-mindly leave the gun where some child can get to it.
 
 
Yep. . . . .shit does happen.
 
 
 
 
“Mr. Thweatt said the board discussed the proposal for nearly two years and considered several options — tranquilizer guns, beanbag guns, Tasers, Mace and armed security guards — but each was found lacking in some way. “We devil-advocated it to death,” Mr. Thweatt said.
 
 
That discussion went unnoticed by many parents.
 
Traci McKay, a 34-year-old restaurant employee, sends three children to the school, yet said she had not heard about the pistol-carrying teachers until two weeks before the start of the semester. She was stunned.
 
“I should have been informed,” Ms. McKay said. “If something happens, do we really want all these people shooting at each other?”
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yeah. . . .they got that one by you parents, eh, Ms. McKay?
 
 
 
 
“She is afraid, however, that her children might face repercussions if she takes up a petition against the idea.”
 
 
 
Yeah, your children may be looked upon as “The children of that woman who just won’t go along to get long”. You know. . . .school and community pariahs.
 
 
Methinks, they did not want parental involvement when they decided on this idiotic policy. Probably felt that the majority of the parents would have voted it down if a meeting was held on it.
 
 
 
“We are pretty much being told to deal with this or move,” Ms. McKay said.”
 
 
 
I guess if you decide against moving and do decide to stay, better not piss off any of those gun-toting schoolmarms/Messrs.
 
Wouldn’t want to hear about you getting your head blown off because you had a problem with a bad grade that teach gave little Johnny on his school essay.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s