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OC State Assembly Members want to Put a Gun in the Hands of Your Kid’s Teacher, Principal and Janitor

Don Wagner
Don Wagner

In Orange County, our Republican-dominated state assembly representatives continue to demonstrate complete ineptness when it comes to getting fair funding for Orange County’s school districts.  Countless trips to Sacramento by parents groups and students, in addition to meetings with the legislators at their local officers, pleading for funding that elevates OC’s schools to “state average” levels is usually met with complaints about teacher’s unions and assurances that these legislators will never vote for any tax increase no matter how badly the school districts that they represent need it.

Leave it to State Reps Don Wagner and Diane Harkey to place their stamp on education by lending their names in co-sponsorship to a bill that would allow school districts to arm their teachers, administrators and even their custodians with a loaded firearm at school.

From today’s LA Times:

The lawmakers, led by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of San Bernardino, made the proposal in response to last month’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults.

“The idea is to create essentially an invisible line of defense around our kids,” Donnelly said at a Capitol news conference.

Donnelly said his AB 202 is an alternative to a dozen proposals by colleagues to impose tighter gun controls, some of which he said are a violation of the constitutional right to bear arms.

He invoked the name of Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto, who was killed trying to defend her students.

“We have a moral obligation that the next Vicki Soto who is faced with inexplicable evil, that she not be left defenseless. If she was [armed] she would have the ability to stop or at least slow down the killer.”

The proposal is modeled after the federal air marshal program, which assigns armed, plainclothes air marshals to many commercial airliner flights to guard against terrorism.

Sen. Leland Yee (D-Sacramento), who has worked as a school psychologist, predicted that the bill would face insurmountable opposition in the Legislature. “With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, that is just absolutely ludicrous,” Yee said of the proposal. “I don’t know of any educator who would be interested in packing a gun into a school.”

At the swearing in ceremony for Irvine’s newly elected city council members, I did ask Assemblyman Wagner to help Irvine by voting to lower the threshold for cities to pass parcel taxes.  I already know his response. And despite his background in education, Mr. Wagner continues to place the interests of his party over those of the families of schoolchildren he represents.

For those with children in elementary school, the prospect of little Susie’s first grade teacher opening fire in front of her in an invitation to a lifetime or therapy.  What about the petite high school English teacher who has a weapon taken away by a burly senior football player because he’s angry at another student?  We’ll remind Mr. Wagner to get back to work finding new ways to help our schools get the funding they need, pay teachers what they are worth, and to start placing the interests of all of his constituents ahead of those of the Republican Party.

Update: a reader alerted me to this blog post from a teacher in Minnesota.  Send her some traffic please.  From her post on arming teachers, read this:

You want to arm me? Good. Then arm me with a school psychologist at my school who has time to do more than test and sit in meetings about testing.

Arm me with enough counselors so we can build skills to prevent violence, have meaningful discussions with students about their future and not merely frantically adjust student schedules like a Jenga game.

Arm me with social workers who can thoughtfully attend to a student’s and her family’s needs so I. Can. Teach.

Arm me with enough school nurses so that they are accessible to every child and can work as a team with me rather than operate their offices as de facto urgent care centers.

Arm me with more days on the calendar for teaching and learning and fewer days for standardized testing.

Arm me with class sizes that allow my colleagues and me to know both our students and their families well.

Arm my colleagues and me with the time it takes to improve together and the time it takes to give great feedback to students about their work and progress.

Until you arm me to the hilt with what it will take to meet the needs of an increasingly vulnerable student population, I respectfully request you keep your opinions on schools and our safety to yourself NRA. Knock it off.


  1. Say What? Say What? February 1, 2013

    As “inept” as your headline? Where did you go to school? Santa Ana?

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | February 1, 2013

      I hit the “s” key as I hit the “a” key; fixed….

  2. Robert Lauten Robert Lauten February 1, 2013

    Let’s be realistic: Republicans AND Democrats follow their ‘Party’s Line’.

    “Psych meds linked to 90% of school shootings
    Expert: Psychiatric drugs likely cause of Lanza’s extreme violence”
    Does anyone really expect either political party to pick a fight with the Pharmaceutical Industry? I can imagine the response from the Main Stream Media: ‘State Reps. Wagner and Harkey Oppose Treatment for the mentally Ill’.

    What politician would dare ask the question:
    ‘Do Psych Meds make mental illness worse’?

    “The Epidemic of Mental Illness – Why?” (9 minute video)–why.aspx
    Does anyone realistically expect the state legislature to again outlaw or restrict the purchase of ‘Killing Stimulators’ (violent video games) AND fight for the state’s right to do so? The US Supreme Court ruled that ‘Killing Stimulators’ (violent video games) are a “Free Speech” right under the first amendment. California should outlaw ‘Killing Stimulators’ (violent video games) and give the US Supreme Court the opportunity to correct its error.

    Virginia Tech Killer Was Another Video-Game Fanatic

    Time To Take On the Violent Videogames Lobby

    Violent Video Games Are Mass-Murder Simulators

    Lt. Col. David Grossman is the author of Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill: A Call To Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence, which he co-authored with Gloria DeGaetano, and On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. The following is his speech to the founding meeting of the Commission Against the New Violence, on May 20, 2000. It is reprinted from EIR, June 2, 2000.

    Politicians follow popular opinion. The masses do not understand the danger of an over medicated population and ‘Killing Stimulators’ (violent video games).

  3. Jon Jon February 1, 2013

    Great article, I could not agree more.

  4. Robert Lauten Robert Lauten February 1, 2013

    From the Minnesota teacher: – ‘Too much testing’.
    Suggestions for teachers:

    At your next Union Meeting demand Union pressure on Congress to cut funding for “No Child Left Behind” (Bush Jr.) and “Race To The Top” (Obama) and also Obama’s “Common Core”; that’s how to eliminate ‘Too Much Testing”.

    Obama’s “Common Core” is the federal takeover of education curriculum.

  5. Katherine Daigle Katherine Daigle February 1, 2013

    The discussion of gun rights and the wide variety of reactions, unfortunately any discussion regarding guns in this country seems to follow the same fundamental pattern. One side, the pro-gun lobby, is adamantly opposed to any additional gun legislation. On the other side, there’s a large and very vocal group that would like to get rid of all guns. The answer most likely lies somewhere in-between. So where does this lead us? What is the answer? The answer is NOT to arm teachers. Their job is to teach. Perhaps as Dan and the Minnesota Teacher has outlined, we need help at our schools. A primary example, when my daughter went to Woodbridge High School in 2002 there were 1000’s of students with very few counselors, psychiatrists, nurses etc.. Should we consider law enforcement officers in schools, but even that would be difficult in the age of tight school budgets.

    I believe the real solution is a deeper look at the how these schools operate. First, let’s end this debate about abolishing guns and focus on tightening the access to guns. Second, it’s time to take a hard look at the affects of these psychiatric drugs and what is on the minds of our youth. From as early as ten many children are overly medicated. There is no real long-term data on how a lifetime of psychotropic drugs affects behavior. Thirdly, it’s time to take a look at the culture and the media related to how violence is depicted.

    Finally, and most importantly, we need to stem the tide of the breakdown of the family in this country. Many of these incidents begin with a bad home life. For all the cases of parents who tried their best and just could not overcome real psychiatric issues, there are numerous cases of poor home lives and non-present parents being casual factors in the creation of violent criminals. Even more importantly, how much stress is on the family with high unemployment and limited access to funds to meet the needs of the family.

    The answer is not easy, but a bigger debate is needed, a the debate should be beyond simple gun control.

    Thank you Dan, Katherine

    • Robert Lauten Robert Lauten February 2, 2013

      “There is no real long-term data on how a lifetime of psychotropic drugs affects behavior.”

      There never will be a FDA approved “real long-term data on how a lifetime of psychotropic drugs affects behavior,” (Big Pharma, – the pharmaceutical industry will lose $billions.)
      But there is ample data from non FDA and non Big Pharma approved experts for one to conclude that “a lifetime of psychotropic drugs affects behavior.” For those that wish to take this journey of discovery please feel free to click the link below AND follow the ‘text links’ in the article.

      Expert testimony below:
      “The Epidemic of Mental Illness – Why?” (9 minute video)–why.aspx

      The U.S. Senate will pass an “Assault Weapons Ban” even though the military type semi-automatic assault rifle was found in the trunk of the car. The Senate is not going to let this tragedy go to waste. When the House receives the Senate bill the House should hold hearings on the relationships between psychotropic drugs, violent video games, and school shootings.
      The House is not going to pick a fight with Big Pharma & the violent video game industry unless they know that the voters understand the evil relationships. It’s our responsibility to visit and print the articles and take them to your Congress-member’s district office. We need to tell our Representatives what to think and do.

  6. Ltpar Ltpar February 2, 2013

    Teachers are there to educate the kids and not serve as security guards. For those trying to use the Federal Air Marshal Progam as an example, each and every one of those people comes from law enforcement backgrounds and receives intensive and continuing training on dealing with potential airline problems. It is like comparing apples to oranges.

    The answer to school safety is not with putting more guns on campus. It encompasses better training for school staff in evaluating potential students and parents with psychological problems. It should also include a better partnership between local law enforcement and schools in preparing and training school staff for dealing with emergencies including; the worst case scenario of an “active shooter.” No steps taken will be 100% effective, but the excellent work currently being done in Irvine, can serve as a model for other cities.

    • Ltpar Ltpar February 3, 2013

      You will note that the person they are calling a Security Guardwas actually an off duty Police Officer who happened to be at the school. As such, he was trained and had the skills to take the appropriate action which was disarming the student without using his own weapon. Would a school teacher or eight dollar an hour Rent a Cop with no training have been able to perform at the same capacity. Not likely, which reinforces the concept if you want armed people on a school campus, spend the money to hire School Resource Officers from the ranks of active and retired Police Officers.

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