Monday, Sept. 25, 2023 |
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The recent shooting in Florida that left 17 dead has prompted Hawaii schools to seek solutions for gun violence.
Teacher Kevin Matsunaga, who has been instructing at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School since 2000, believes the answer to the problem is not to put more guns into schools.
“Instead of paying teachers a bonus to carry a firearm, I would rather see more money being placed into our schools, so that we can hire more teachers and support staff like counselors, to better spot and help these kids who end up being adults that shoot up a school.”
Matsunaga said the country needs to do more for the children.
“We need more funding in mental health, and we seriously need to make it harder for people to own and keep their guns,” he said. “I am so proud of our young people for taking a stand and forcing our adults to listen. Hopefully we will listen and finally do something about it.”
Arming teachers and bringing guns onto school campuses does nothing to protect students and teachers from gun violence, said Hawaii State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee said during a roundtable discussion.
During a joint news conference with the Honolulu Police Department Friday morning, Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto also appeared to oppose President Donald Trump’s idea of arming teachers.
Likewise, Kapaa High School Principal Daniel Hamada wouldn’t consider arming any teacher with a firearm, mainly because he doesn’t think it makes sense to endanger another individual.
“I think there are other strategies that can be done to ensure safety on the campus,” Hamada said. “It’s unfortunate we have these situations. But arming a teacher or any of the staff right now, I don’t see it as an answer. I see it as causing additional problems or situations.”
“When you listen to the students that are trying to get their message across from Florida, as well as from other states, you hear a lot of good ideas about really revisiting our present laws and access to guns, looking at individuals who have mental health issues,” he added. “While schools may train for different emergency situations, there has to be a balance in terms of what we are doing to address the issue of gun laws and helping provide treatment for those that are in need.”
Former teacher and coordinator at Kapaa’s St. Catherine School, Andrea Healey said guns don’t belong around kids.
“If teachers become trained to carry one, you might as well hire police officers to teach. It would send the wrong message to kids and attract fear,” she said.
“However, it would be wise to implement a state or nationwide prevention campaign, a security system, and an emergency plan for all schools,” she said. “Bringing guns around students even with trained teachers would increase the risk of accidents.”
Some schools around the country already allow educators to bring guns onto school grounds, and the notion is gaining momentum. In places like Ohio and Texas, some schools post warnings that staffers are armed, while others keep potential attackers guessing.
President Trump suggested even paying bonuses to teachers willing to be trained to carry firearms at schools.
Kauai Complex Area Superintendent William Arakaki said the safety of students and staff is the top priority at schools and offices on Kauai.
“In conjunction with the Kauai Police Department’s Project Guardian, the Kauai Department of Education will be providing each public school a training opportunity to participate in an ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) instructor certification training,” he said.
This is the leading program for response to violent critical incidents, including active shooter, violent intruder, mass shooting, terrorism, workplace violence and other unexpected occurrences.
“ALICE procedures are used almost exclusively in all new guidance and are a safe school strategy beyond the conventional lockdown procedures presently in place,” Arakaki said.
The program’s procedures follow federal and state recommendations for handling such manmade occurrences.
Donalyn Dela Cruz, director, Communications Office at the state Department of Education, said, “Ensuring that schools remain a safe place for teaching and learning is of utmost priority.”
Trump is correct, train and arm teachers not throw more money into a corrupt education system that will only squander it. Especially Hawaii’s bloated and corrupt DOE where $millions disappear into the pockets of superintendents, “complex” superintendents. assistant to complex principals who often hire their own family member on no-bid contracts like the multi-million dollar CISCO alarm system that never works because of exclusive copyright issue OR the $100,000 price tag to cool down one classroom.
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