Since I have kids, one area of politics I’ve spent some time with is education policy. The truth is, education is a bit of a trainwreck in this country. However, one of the better ideas lately has been the concept of charter schools. These are publicly funded schools that operate more like private schools. That’s an oversimplified description, to be sure, but charter schools are an interesting leap forward for the educational system.
Many school boards don’t like charter schools, though, because not only do they pull students from the more traditional public schools but they also are independently run. They don’t answer to the school boards in quite the same way other public schools do.
What does any of this have to do with the Second Amendment?
Well, it seems that in Colorado, there’s a provision of state law that allows schools to have armed staff. A charter school in the state has opted to do just that. Now, a school board wants to shut that charter school down because they’re doing something they’re allowed to do under state law.
Last week during the second “Interim School Safety Committee” hearing at the Colorado State Capitol (a committee put together after the tragic STEM School Shooting at a charter school in Douglas County last May), district superintendent Dr. Thomas Tucker emphatically stated that no schools in HIS district were allowed to have armed staff, that it was a violation of district policy, and if any of them tried to do it, they’d be asked to leave the district. This included charter schools.
The superintendent’s position has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with anti-gun ideology. Under state statute, charter schools have autonomy over their security plans. Reference: CRS 22-32-109-1 (2). Ascent Classical Academy has a contract with the school district that allows them to implement their new security plan, and they also have a waiver from the district policy GBEB, which talks about armed staff. In December 2018, the newest anti-gun school board adopted a new policy ADD, that fundamentally changed the previous policy from a mere statement to a directive. They took restrictive language on armed staff from policy GBEB and inserted it into this new ADD – which NO ONE has a waiver from since it wasn’t even applicable to anyone until it was suddenly created last December. This was an underhanded move to prevent Ascent Classical Academy from implementing their new security policy, even though that policy was developed at the request of parents and teachers of that particular school which does not have the funds to hire a full time SRO.
To combat this, Ascent Classical Academy is trying to shift its charter from the local school board to the state, thus completely bypassing Tucker’s authority in pretty much every way.
Now, bear in mind that armed staff in Colorado are required to go through a specific training requirement in order to carry a firearm on school grounds. Nevermind that this is the same state where the mass shooting became “popularized,” for lack of a better term, with the Columbine shooting. Nevermind that one charter school in the state has already played host to such an attack this year.
No, none of that matters because Tucker doesn’t want guns. Who cares what the parents want.
For most schools, that would be true. Parental input is somewhat of a non-factor at many public schools. Yet charter schools are different. They thrive off of parental involvement. Many actually require such involvement. To dismiss parental concerns and desires is a problem.
Plus, let’s be honest here. Disarming the staff doesn’t make anyone safer. Bad people are still going to do bad thing. The only way to stop it is for a good person to have the means to stop it. That’s all we’re talking about, and that’s what Tucker wants to prevent.
Any dead kids at Ascent Classical Academy will be on his head.