Federal Panel Hears Chilly Response to ‘School Sentinels’

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While President Trump and the NRA have touted the idea of arming school staffers, educators, students and citizens who showed up Tuesday for a federal school safety commission “listening session” in ruby-red Wyoming, a state that allows its districts to arm certain school staff members, were deeply divided on the proposal, reports Education Week. Brian Cox, principal of Johnson Junior High School in Cheyenne, where the event was held, said he’d rather see resources directed to mental health. “Asking school personnel to do the job of law enforcement and military personnel is nothing short of asking your plumber to cut your hair. It’s just not the job you’d want them to do,” Cox said. But Bill Tallen, executive at a business that trains school staff to carry weapons, said, “When shooting starts, the only way to mitigate the consequences, to protect innocent lives, is to have armed adults at the school able to swiftly engage and stop the shooter before police arrive and to provide life-saving, immediate medical care to the injured.”

The commission is charged with making policy recommendations in the wake of the Feb. 14 school massacre in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead. This was the commission’s third of four listening sessions. Its chair, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was absent. So were three other cabinet members on the commission, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary Alex Azar of Health and Human Services. Each sent a representative. Wyoming and South Dakota allow school districts to decide whether to let teachers carry guns after going through special training, but only a handful of these “sentinels” have signed on, officials said.

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