With the recent school shootings across the nation, guns in classrooms and the safety oftudents was a hot topic at the Cleveland School District Board of Trustees meeting held Friday.
Trustee Richard Boggs brought up the topic when he said, "It's been in the news here lately about arming teachers, guns in the classroom. What's our position? I'm not for it. I want our kids to be extremely safe."
CSD Superintendent Dr. Jackie Thigpen agreed and said, "I'm not for it either."
Board President George Evans said, "They're not talking arming every teacher. The principals, coaches, and the ones that go though training would be armed. They're not talking about giving Ms. Jones, 72-years-old over there teaching English, a pistol."
Boggs said, "I know coaches that cant find their keys, how are they going to find a gun?"
Trustee Todd Fuller asked the superintendent, "Do you have a secure group, team, or panel that focuses on the security of our facilities at the district?"
Thigpen said, "We have a safety plan. Each school has a safety plan, which requires a team, then you have our resource officers."
Fuller suggested an advisory group that can look at the schools from a security perspective and ask questions.
Boggs said, "Something like that, the street open, between the two schools, those kids get out and you don’t think about it until after something happens. Getting off of those busses, there's 200 or 300 kids standing out in the middle of that street every morning and it takes one vehicle coming down through there."
Fuller said, "I want us to be aware of situations and have someone looking at a plan moving forward so we can make any improvements if need be. It's a shame we're in a world where we have to do stuff like that."
Trustee Tonya Short, who phoned in for the meeting due to a recent surgery, said, "I've talked to some other people about this and I know some schools that utilize metal detectors. I know that a lot of schools go to uniforms for that very purpose so they can identify who should be in the building and who should not be in the building. In terms of metal detectors I think it kind of helps keep some of the guns out of the buildings as well as knives and other objects we don’t want in our school."
Evans asked about current security at the schools and was assured that all the doors were locked from the outside during the school day.
Boggs said, "We can't do it all. Everything we can think of we can do and there's still a way around it. This is just something we hope we never have to encounter but whatever we can do, maybe more resource officers, I don't know what the answer is, but I know we need to do all we can."
Board attorney Jamie Jacks said, "I know Cleveland Police Chief Buster Bingham would be willing to come in and make recommendations about what we can do to make it safer here."
According to an article from the Associated Press, gun violence is a public health issue. It’s a leading cause of premature death in the United States, killing more people each year than diseases like HIV, hypertension and viral hepatitis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 33,594 individuals were killed by firearms in 2014 alone. That’s only about 200 less than the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents. In 2015, roughly 85,000 people were injured by firearms, including nearly 10,000 children.