Education Week - January 9, 2013 - (Page 16)

16 EDUCATION WEEK n JANUARY 9, 2013 n AFTER NEWTOWN Legal, Logistical Concerns Seen in Call to Arm Adults State laws, policies differ widely; safety issues raised By Andrew Ujifusa Forty-two states and the District of Columbia prohibit even holders of concealed-weapon permits or licenses from bringing guns onto school grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, calls are coming in some states to let responsible adults carry weapons in or around schools. In Arizona, state Attorney General Tom Horne—a former state schools superintendent—has proposed allowing one armed individual in each school. In the same state, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has said he will allow “posses” of private citizens to patrol the perimeters of schools (but not on school property) to deter gun violence, an approach he said he used successfully in shopping malls in the early 1990s. In Oklahoma, a pair of lawmakers has said they plan to introduce legislation to allow school personnel to carry guns on school grounds. One of them, state Rep. Mark McCullough, a Republican, has also floated the idea that teachers could be made reserve lawenforcement officers with local police and sheriff’s departments. Another Republican, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, said Dec. 17—three days after the shootings at the Newtown, Conn., school— that permits to carry concealed weapons should be valid on school grounds. Texas prohibits firearms on public and private school property and in school vehicles, unless the school board gives specific permission for them. Using that aspect of state law, the Harrold school district has crafted a school security plan in which some school employees carry concealed weapons. (See related story, Page 1.) But support for the concept of more armed adults in schools is hardly universal. President Barack Obama told nbc News in an interview that aired Dec. 30 that he was skeptical about the idea of “putting more guns in school.” And Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, on Dec. 18 vetoed a measure opposed by teachers’ unions and by gun-control advocates that would have allowed exemptions from gun bans in “no-carry zones,” including schools and day-care centers. No Single Approach Measures to allow staff members to carry firearms to defend students and themselves could create safety and logistical problems for school authorities and law-enforcement officers, some experts say, and raise complicated legal questions. “Especially with guns, there’s just so much overlap with general penal codes and general laws in a state,” said Lauren Heintz, a research analyst at the Denver-based ncsl. “[Such legislation] will pull in all citizens, and not just those schools.” The law can be complex when it comes to determining who is allowed to carry a weapon in school—and under just what circumstances. Connecticut, for example, has relatively strict gun-control laws compared with other states. It has an assault-weapons ban, and in the area of permits, it is a “may issue” or “discretionary” state, in which the state may grant a person a permit to carry a concealed firearm but is not required to do so, according to the ncsl. In 38 other states, applicants either are not required to demonstrate a need for such a permit, or authorities must grant a permit if the applicant meets all the relevant criteria. Carrying guns on public and private school grounds or at school-sponsored activities in Connecticut is a felony, with a few exceptions “ We could be challenging the wrong person. We could be wasting time challenging a good guy with a gun, when in fact we could be looking for the suspect.” KEVIN QUINN National Association of School Resource Officers for those who have them for school-approved uses (such as a firearms-safety class), for security guards, and for a law-enforcement officer “in the performance of his official duties.” A hunter may carry an unloaded weapon across public school grounds as well, with the school board’s permission. Still, under Connecticut law, a teacher could, in theory, legally bring a concealed weapon to school with the district’s permission, a 2006 analysis found. Soncia Coleman, an associate legislative analyst for the state, noted in the analysis that when the original law pertaining to guns at schools was passed in 1992, it allowed an exemption for those with locally or state-issued permits. That exemption was removed in 1998. “While a teacher or staff member would be prohibited from bringing a gun to school without the district’s permission, the statute appears to allow him to do so pursuant to an agreement with said district,” Ms. Coleman wrote. “However, it is not clear from session transcripts that this result was contemplated by the legislature, and a cursory review of related board of education policies reveals that this practice would generally be Tragedy Sets Off Fresh Debate Over Federal Gun-Policy Role Duncan on White House panel with fast turnaround By Alyson Klein The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School have reopened the debate in Washington over gun policy, as lawmakers and administration officials ponder how the federal government might help head off similar violence, despite a polarized political climate and a tight rein on spending. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been tapped along with other Cabinet members to serve on a White House task force that will examine gun violence, mental-health services, and other policies following the killings last month in Newtown, Conn. President Barack Obama said the panel, led by Vice President Joe Biden, will present its recommendations in time for his State of the Union address this month. Mr. Obama has said he will work with Congress in an effort to make the panel’s ideas a reality. Mr. Duncan, who was named the most anti-gun member of the president’s Cabinet by the National Rifle Association in 2009, will be working on the panel with Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. President Obama signaled that he’d like to see the panel consider a ban on military-style weapons, such as the one used in the Newtown shootings, and that he favors stricter background checks for would-be gun purchasers. For his part, Mr. Duncan declared student safety a “collective responsibility” in a Dec. 21 speech. He specifically urged federal lawmakers to reduce the size of magazines, reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and ensure existing laws are being enforced. School Programs Eyed Already, some lawmakers—including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.—have put forth concrete ideas on gun control. Ms. Feinstein, who has been the author of gunrestriction legislation in the past, said last month that she is planning to introduce a bill to ban assault weapons. Two senators who have traditionally supported gun rights, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mark Warner, D-Va., each expressed an interest in banning assault weapons in the wake of the shootings. Also in Congress, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has released a pair of bills on school safety, one of which would make it easier for governors to call on National Guard troops to help in such efforts. The other bill, called the “Secure Our Schools” Act, would set up a joint task force between the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Education to de- velop new safety guidelines for schools. It would also seek to make grants under the Justice Department’s office of community-oriented policing services’ Secure Our Schools program more accessible by lowering the local matching requirement to 20 percent, from 50 percent. The grants help schools install tip lines and surveillance equipment and to secure entrances. The bill also would increase the authorization for the program to $50 million, from $30 million, which would essentially allow Congress to direct more money to it. And in the House of Representatives, Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo., introduced a bill last week to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, such as that used with the weapon in the Sandy Hook shootings. Funding Cutbacks Such responses follow a scaling-back in federal financial support for school safety programs in recent years. Congress, with the support of the Obama administration, zeroed out funding for state grants to help bolster school safety. President George W. Bush’s admin-

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 9, 2013

Education Week - January 9, 2013
State Lawmakers Gear for Action On Broad K-12 Issues Menu
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Teachers Seek Specialized Peer Networks
Shootings Revive Debates on Security
Student-Press Ruling Resonates From 1988
News in Brief
Report Roundup
FOCUS ON: INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE: IB Supporters Tout Program’s Links With Common Core
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Federal Effort Aims to Bridge Ed. Tech., Learning Sciences
U.S. Students Exceed International Average, But Lag Some Asian Nations in Math, Science
New Global Results Spark Questions On Finland’s Standing
Head Start Gains Found to Fade By 3rd Grade in Latest Study
Testing Group Selects Exam to Gauge ‘College Readiness’
State Chiefs Pledge Teacher Prep, Licensing Upgrades
Blogs of the Week
Post-Tragedy, Difficult Choices Loom
At Sandy Hook, Grim Day Unfolds
Legal, Logistical Concerns Seen In Call to Arm Adults
Tragedy Sets Off Fresh Debate Over Federal Gun-Policy Role
Advocates Worry Shootings Will Deepen Autism’s Stigma
K-12 Aid Outlook Murky, Despite ‘Cliff’ Deal
District Race to Top Winners Split $400 Million Pot
Policy Brief
Top State Ed. Positions Turn Over as Year Ends
CAROLYN LUNSFORD MEARS: After the Tragedy, What Next?
DAVID YOUNG & J.B. BUXTON: Language Education We Can Use
W. JAMES POPHAM: Formative Assessment’s ‘Advocatable Moment’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JEFFREY R. HENIG: Reading the Future of Education Policy

Education Week - January 9, 2013