RUTHERFORD COUNTY, NC — The Safety in Schools forum held Saturday brought an essential take-away – our school teachers are well-informed about the safety plan and care about our children like their own.
There was no detailed information presented about the emergency school plan. Various ideas such as concealed carry in schools, crime prevention, mental health, counseling, how to make a report, school resource officers, and proper gun training were brought up.
The following quotes were from the forum as well as video clips below.
Should teachers carry concealed guns in schools?
Rep. Cody says no bill has been submitted at this time to support guns in school. The representatives are gathering input. Rutherford County House Representative David Rogers said only law enforcement can carry guns at school at the current time. However, current Sheriff Chris Francis stated that in 2013 the law changed and qualified people can carry. In such a case that becomes a possibility, the Sheriff and Superintendent must agree. Francis stated that he was also consulting with Joe Maimone of the Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy.
Rep. Cody-“We can’t carry at the General Assembly for whatever reason.”
When should a person be considered fully trained to conceal carry?
County Commissioner Mike Benfield answered the BLET spends 48 hours in training. According to Benfield, the minimum to carry should be law enforcement standards or meet law enforcement’s training requirements.
District Attorney Ted Bell suggested programs similar to air marshals as an idea for carrying people in schools. There would be lots of details to work out.
CFA Tony Helton said that the key is to have a dialogue with no preconceived notions. “We secure our prisons. We secure the Duke Power Plant in Cliffside. It’s gonna cost money and that comes from tax payers and keep electing those that divert funding to other places.”
“I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I’ve won life’s lottery.
Judge Laura Powell- “Should we arm teachers? Makes my blood pressure go up.”
Judge Randy Pool-In Fla they had a crazy person in school and didn’t do anything about it. ”
High School President Sherburne- “I can’t imagine my statistics teacher having a gun.”
Teacher Vandyke-“I feel about your children like I do about mine.”
Tony Helton-“Mark Meadows introduced bill to protect America’s school act a few weeks ago.”
Sheriff Chris Francis:”Mark Meadows is a strong man of God. Oops. I think I upset someone in the front row (lady coughing).”
School Superintendent Janet Mason said, “Dark humor of school violence is not okay. We take each threat seriously. There will be consequences and possibly charges. Students making even joking threats will have a mental health assessment before returning to school.
BRANDON GOSEY , school board member and organizer, did not sit with the panel and did not participate. Gosey received a great deal of criticism with the Board of Education who were not included in his plans. The forum was not endorsed by the Board of Elections. On many levels Gosey excluded entire groups of people and did not hold a clear vision of the forum. Gosey still has not responded to NAACP inquiry as to why there were no people of color on the panel.
All questions were censured. There were many group leaders whose questions were not asked. A more holistic panel and perspective would have aided this forum.