Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hoplophobia in the parent-teacher relationship

HB.389 would allow a "parent to move the parent's child from the classroom of a teacher if the teacher is carrying a concealed firearm."

I suppose parents have that right. They are already free to exercise that right by moving their children to a private school that bans responsible adults from possessing guns. The people who are opposed to such school choice also tend to be those who are opposed to teachers having guns. Ironic.

But teachers also have a constitutionally-guaranteed right to self-protection. Most of Utah's legislators honor this right. If a Utah public-school teacher is ever forced by circumstances to activate this right, the children of hoplophobic parents will also, by default, be protected. Ironic.

HB.389 is aimed at armed teachers. Why single out the teacher? What about the custodian, secretary, principal, nurse, counselor, and bus driver who are also carrying guns? Shouldn't paranoid parents and legislators discriminate against them too?

In order for HB.389 to work, several people must know which teachers carry firearms for self-protection. The bill therefore requires
teachers who carry concealed firearms to school to notify the principal of the school;
permits a parent to inquire if the teacher of the parent's child is carrying a concealed firearm;
requires a principal to tell a parent who inquires if the teacher of the parent's child is carrying a concealed firearm;
allows a parent to request removal of the parent's child from a classroom with a teacher carrying a concealed firearm;
requires the school to comply with a parent's request to remove the parent's child from a classroom with a teacher carrying a concealed firearm;
and provides that the information obtained by the parent is confidential. *
There are those who call for armed uniformed police officers in every school. I oppose this idea even though it has been proposed by the NRA, of which I am a life member. School duty would surely be a very boring assignment for most police officers. But it would also be very dangerous because a uniformed officer, or anyone who is known to be armed, would most certainly be the first target. Once the officer is down, the attacker(s) would have unfettered control in the school -- plus the officer's weapons. What then? Wait for the rest of their 20-minute lives for help to arrive as did the teachers and children of Sandy Hook?

One of the profound beauties of Utah's concealed firearm permit process is its confidentiality. Nobody knows who has the guns. That substantially increases the uncertainty and risk for those who chose to commit violence. It gives the teachers and school staff the element of surprise if his or her classroom is attacked.

In the case of Utah's school teachers and staff having firearms, not even the principle knows, or needs to know who has the gun. In fact, nobody else in the school knows, or should know, whether the principal carries a gun! That protects every armed employee from being a primary target in the event of a school attack.

HB.389 would defeat all of that security to satisfy the anti-gun bigotry of a tiny handful of parents and legislators.

Every employee in our public schools is under constant scrutiny by supervisors, taxpayers, and parents and must pass a background check to even have the job. They must pass another background check to obtain a Utah Concealed Firearm Permit (CFP). They must pass still another background check or verification of a valid CFP to buy a firearm. The men and women working in our schools are therefore FBI-double-or-triple-certified as being responsible adults! HB.389 implies that they are not. HB.389 is dangerous for reasons outlined above and it is a slap in the face of every one of Utah's teachers.

HB.389 must be defeated if not withdrawn.

* Note: Regardless of this confidentiality provision, the ultimate goal of anyone supporting this bill is likely to put those names out on the web for everyone to see, just like the stupidity of New York publishing gun owners names and addresses.

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