AB 202 proposes to arm schools with guns but local educators, students have mixed reactions

Local students, educators have mix reactions

A bill proposing to arm schools with guns has created strong opinions.

In light of all the recent school shootings, AB 202 proposes to allow school districts to spend general education funds to train school staff in gun use and allow them to carry guns on their body in case of an emergency.

But the concept of using guns to stop guns is shooting off mixed reaction.

Since 1990, the Kern High School District has had its own police department---which currently has 25 officers to patrol schools.

"I think having an armed presence on our campus makes a difference," said KHSD director of pupil personell Otis Jennings.

But when it comes to arming teachers, counselors, even janitors, Jennings says thats not a good idea.

"I don't think you should just give anyone a gun and say 'Here, protect the kids'," said Jennings.

Jennings says his officers undergo monthly tactical exercises, psychological training and screening.

"Some of our officers have had SWAT training, we have terrorism training liaison officers. There's a number of different expertise," said Jennings.

He says that expertise is what saves lives, not simply having holding gun.

Something the California Teacher's Association agrees with.

"Teachers are about teaching and supporting kids. Not carrying guns..thats the job of law enforcement," said CTA president Dean Vogel.

While the bill would apply to schools of all levels, Bakersfield College would be exempt unless the community college board changes its gun free campus policy.

But that has not stopped students and staff from talking.

"There is this mixed sentiment about the concept of having weapons on campus," said BC spokesperson Amber Chiang.

"It's fine I guess. We should all be armed, teachers I mean. Because you never know when something like that is going to happen again," said BC student Emilio Garcia.

"I don't think we want to take an extremist approach to that, its very easy to be emotional," said BC student Elizabeth Mayfield.

It's an opinion some BC educators also share.

"Guns automatically escalate a situation so if you're the good guy or bad guy putting a gun in the situation will make it a lot more tense and dangerous for everybody involved," said Chiang.

The California Teachers Association tells us the answer is not more guns at schools but more counselors to help solve issues before they escalate to the point of gunfire.

The CA says California ranks last in the nation for the number of counselors per student.

 

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