MOUNT VERNON — The recent school shooting in Connecticut has focused a spotlight on school safety issues, and some people believe it would make sense to allow school personnel to carry weapons as a defense against armed intruders.
Although unanimous in their belief that the safety of children is paramount, area principals have mixed views about carrying a gun. Many are not “gun people” to start with, and would require extensive training in handling a firearm safely. Others do own guns and go hunting, but would not care to take a gun to school. Some, albeit reluctantly, would comply with a district directive requiring them to carry firearms.
Mark Bowman, principal of Utica High School, told the News that putting a gun in a principal’s hands is a very good idea. “If you had asked me that two weeks ago, I would have said ‘no,’” he said. “I think if that principal at Sandy Hook had a gun — she was obviously brave enough — she wouldn’t be dead and neither would all of those kids. Just one person would be dead. Her actions certainly speak volumes to what could have happened under those circumstances. I think it’s the best option.”
Mount Vernon High School Principal Kathy Kasler said she doesn’t think arming principals is the route schools need to take. “It’s hard for me to assess, but more things that could go wrong with that scenario go through my mind. Keeping up with informing and educating administrators and staff on safety procedures, precautionary methods, diligence, visibility, is what we need,” she said.
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