District 28 Senate Candidate Questions School District 10 Decision

Published: June 18, 2018 at 12:00 am


To the Editor:

On Monday, June 11, the Regional District 10 school board [serving the towns of Burlington and Harwinton] voted to make it the only school district in the state of Connecticut to arm school security guards. They did it out of a sense of "urgency." They did it in the hope of becoming "an example for the state of Connecticut and the nation" on how to protect children. They did it behind closed doors, without public comment, and without notifying parents that this decision was being made. They did it, apparently, without any consideration for all of the data demonstrating that more guns raise the level of danger rather than preventing it.

The school board either neglected to research or willfully ignored the evidence that contradicts the belief that more guns equal more safety. Recent studies uniformly confirm the correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths - including homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Nor did the school board consider, it seems, that Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School had an armed guard who did nothing to stop the shooting. Nor did the incidents of teachers and security officers accidentally firing guns in school serve to persuade them to consider other options for improving school safety.

Evidence shows that arming good guys does not make us safer. Keeping guns out of the hands of the "bad guys" is what works, such as stronger background checks that prevent people with a history of violence, criminal activity, abuse, or mental illness from purchasing firearms; banning ghost guns that allow anyone to mail order and assemble parts to create a gun and circumvent gun laws; ensuring that all guns are locked safely and separate from ammunition in every home that has them; and investing resources in increasing the number of school social workers and psychologists to identify students who need help, thereby encouraging a culture of kindness and acceptance.

District 10 did indeed have an opportunity to set an example for Connecticut and the nation. But what they did instead was to show us how bad decisions are made when fear, secrecy, and the complete disregard of reliable evidence are the factors driving those decisions.

Michelle McCabe, Candidate for Senate District 28
3845 Park Avenue, #2, Fairfield June 18, 2018

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