Source: Sherman Publications

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Trustees want tougher gun-carry ban in schools

by Phil Custodio

December 18, 2013

For Clarkston School Board Trustee Cheryl McGinnis, guns have no place in schools except when carried by police.

"Police officers go through advanced training he puts himself in harm's way to protect the citizens of community, and he's trained for that," McGinnis said. "My concern is with people, especially people who recently got a concealed permit, went through one or two days of training, now they're an expert in an emergency, if they're not truly prepared, it could be turned and used on them."

She brought to the board a resolution to prohibit open carry of firearms in schools.

The resolution, which was tabled for more discussion, would not be binding. State law allows citizens with a concealed-carry permit to carry weapons openly in public schools. It would instead urge lawmakers to amend the law to ban it.

"I can't imagine how a child would feel if they see a parent or volunteer come into a building with a pistol," McGinnis said. "I feel very concerned staff and students would have to determine if a person not in uniform is armed, is this person I can trust or a perpetrator?"

Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock said he is also very concerned about it.

"You can't take a gun into banks, church, courts, theaters, sports arenas, day care centers, hospitals, and bars, but you can into school? I have a real problem with that," he said.

According to state law, Sec. 234d, sub 2c, anyone with a valid concealed pistol license issued by any state can carry in those areas.

Board Treasurer Joan Patterson proposed tabling the measure.

"A resolution with no teeth behind it may not be the best way to handle it," Patterson said. "I'd like, when we do something, to have some end result."

Tabling would allow them to check with board Secretary Charles Hamilton, who was absent from the meeting, Michigan Association of School Board, and parents, she said.

Trustee Elizabeth Egan supports the resolution, but said she doesn't mind taking more time.

"I'm very comfortable with sending a resolution to the legislature saying we don't think this is a good idea," Egan said. "You can't carry in state legislature. If that's good for them, why not for students?"

The board voted 5-1 to table to resolution, which was modeled after one recently adopted by the West Bloomfield School Board. Egan, McGinnis, Patterson, board President Rosalie Lieblang, and Vice President Susan Boatman voted "yes." Trustee Stephen Hyer voted "no."