The actions of the Mount Vernon-Enola School Board Thursday night were quick — the meeting lasted all of eight minutes — but they were important because they involved a very important part of the school district, the parents.
As has been reported, the Mount Vernon-Enola School District is considering a plan that would arm administrators after training by the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office. The plan, brought forth by Sheriff Andy Shock, was presented to other school districts in Faulkner County, but no other group wanted to go down that route.
The debate over someone other than a resource officer carrying guns in schools has been on everyone’s lips since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December 2012. With every new tragedy, grieving takes place alongside arguing who has the best solution. In this case, it has been pushed to two extremes: banning of firearms vs. increase of firearms for as many people as possible.
Our initial reaction is this: more guns in a place where children reside do not make a place safer. Too many things can go wrong to warrant such an action. But ours is one viewpoint. The fact that each school district is weighing these matters individually show that they are each taking the matter seriously.
Although we wouldn’t endorse the path that Mount Vernon-Enola may eventually take, we understand that this is their path, and they seem to be proceeding with caution.
They are also seeking the input of those whose children they have been entrusted. Just a few weeks ago, this office received a phone call from an angry parent saying that they felt the proposal to have guns in the hands of administrators was being rammed down the throats of the public. He also said many other parents felt that way but were afraid to speak out.
That is in contrast to Shock, who said he received a standing ovation at an open house meeting last week in support of the idea. It was a meeting this publication was not informed was happening, so the applause will have to be believed because it wasn’t seen.
But hopefully this survey, which is a simple “yes” or “no” questionnaire sent to parents and students in grades seven through twelve will need to be back in the hands of the school board before October’s meeting, will allow these parents who do have a problem to voice it accordingly.
The board did not make a definitive statement over what the percentage would be to move the plan forward. They plan to look at all entries first.
And although we do not agree with what could be the outcome, we applaud the board for taking the time to ask the parents, the people they are representing, for their input.