Friday, September 21, 2007

Another B.S. Anti Editorial

No guns in school. Period.

Sympathy for an Oregon high-school teacher with a restraining order against an ex-husband ought not extend to allowing her to carry a gun to school.

The Medford School District teacher, known as Jane Doe in court papers, wants an exception to the district's policy against guns on school property so she can carry her Glock 9-mm. The answer forthcoming from a Jackson County Court judge ought to be a resounding no. The teacher's fear of her ex-spouse deserves a compassionate response — one that doesn't lead to pistol-packin' teachers.

The school could beef up security. Or the teacher could be given a paid leave while sorting out her personal problems. The restraining order could be strengthened or broadened for maximum protection.

There are solutions that don't require a gun in the classroom. The teacher has a concealed-carry permit but that doesn't give her the right to bring a gun to class.

If teachers fearful for their safety can carry guns, what about other school employees, or students fearful of the playground bully? Exceptions could create a school climate that is dangerous and distracts from education.

The 1994 federal Gun-Free Schools Act is threatened by cases such as the one in Oregon. The Christian Science Monitor reports the Michigan and Ohio legislatures have pending bills permitting school employees to carry concealed weapons on school grounds, while others have considered the possibility.

Washington state law prohibits anyone other than law-enforcement personnel from possessing weapons on school premises, school-provided transportation or any facility exclusively used by public or private schools. Legislative efforts led by Rep. Pat Lantz, D-Gig Harbor, would remove legal ambiguity by defining what is considered a weapon and making possession of one a felony rather than a gross misdemeanor.

Oregon's Jane Doe may fear she's in harm's way. But taking a gun into her classroom puts students in the same predicament.