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Official not afraid board will allow guns in school

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook Public Schools' superintendent told board of education members during their monthly meeting Monday evening that he's not afraid the board will agree to state legislation allowing guns in school.

Nebraska Sen. Mark Christensen's proposed bill, LB 516, allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns in schools "is not positive," and is "not the right direction" for McCook Public Schools, according to Superintendent Grant Norgaard.

The bill allows for individual school boards to decide whether guns on campus are appropriate for their schools.

MPS Superintendent Grant Norgaard told board of education members Monday evening, "I don't fear the board would pass this."

"It's not the right direction to go," Norgaard said.

Board president Tom Bredvick said he is "adamantly opposed" to the bill, saying that guns on campus could "increase the availability of weapons" to some children and young adults.

Fellow board member Diane Lyons agreed, adding that she is concerned with liability issues to which guns on campus would expose schools.

Board member Larry Shields said he visited with Sen. Christensen during a conference call with McCook Area Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee members, and told him, "Let law enforcement be law enforcement. Let teachers be educators."


The school board meeting had to be moved from the junior high conference room to the cafeteria because of damage caused when water pipes froze near the conference room in sub-zero temperatures and wind chills last week.

While repairs are under way in the conference room, water pipes in the 55-year-old high school are also a concern. Finance director Rick Haney told board members that the original pipe infrastructure in the high school needs to be replaced.

The latest leak repair removed a length of rusty pipe in a tunnel and cost $2,000, Haney said. "We're going to make it through this winter," Haney said, but without replacement, he predicted a major leak and no heat and freezing throughout the whole building.

Haney said that infrastructure repair/replacement is being budgeted, and Norgaard said that a low-interest loan could supplement what has been budgeted if replacement becomes necessary before replacement costs fully budgeted.

The loan could be paid off in 1 to 1 1/2 years and the repairs would save dramatically on energy coats, Norgaard said.


Norgaard told board members that he's "not in a position of fret and worry," but he wants the board to be aware that proposed changes in the state aid formula could reduce McCook's state aid.

Norgaard said he is concerned that one proposal penalizes schools that are frugal and spend less than like schools. He said he doesn't think either LB 235 or LB 236 will pass, and that state aid to Nebraska schools may fall somewhere around $825 million, a compromise between Gov. Heineman's $800 million and Sen. Adams' $845 million.


In other action:

* Lyons said that she attended an ESU workshop that demonstrated virtual and interactive field trips that she would like to make available to every MPS class at least once a year. Each "field trip" costs $150-160, and includes complementary projects such as reading, science, art or math projects.

* The board accepted a donation of $700 from the McCook Optimist Club for playground equipment at McCook Elementary and Central Elementary, and an additional $500 donation from the Optimists.

* The board accepted a $1,693.71 donation from the McCook Education Foundation for classroom technology purchases.

* The board accepted, with gratitude for 22 years of service, the resignation of speech therapy teacher Judith Otto, effective Jan. 14.

* The board recognized the McCook Education Association as the exclusive and sole collective bargaining representative for certificated staff employed by MPS.

* The board made no changes in its bullying prevention policy during the required annual policy review.

* Jaci Saalfeld reported that the MHS Student Council donated $1,043 to the McCook Humane Society, the proceeds of its Color Day dance ticket sales. The group distributed Bison water bottles and lanyards to students and staff for Valentine's Day and plans its annual "Leadership Banquet" Monday, April 18.

* MHS students Alli Been and Angela Brown performed the poems they prepared for the 2011 "Poetry Out Loud" competition. Norgaard said he is impressed with the work and effort, poise and self-confidence required to participate in the poetry competition. "It's a great competition," he said.

"Positive Comments" made by board members and administrators included:

* School body representative Hailey Esch said that the MHS FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) donated $500, the proceeds from its "penny war," to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She also praised the work ethic of MHS custodian David Battreall. "He's so nice to everyone," she said, and so attentive to the needs of students.

* Lyons said she appreciated administrators and crisis team members who helped students following the death of MHS freshman Kailee Clapp on Jan. 21. She said she was also impressed that the student body has been there for each other throughout the ordeal.

* Sandy Krysl said she appreciates the staff that scoops snow and cleans the sidewalks, making school campuses safe.

* Larry Shields said he appreciates the efforts of Paul Paz and fellow maintenance staff personnel as water pipe problems are addressed at the high school.


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NO WAY should any firearms be allowed on the school campus at any time. Only law enforcement officials, who are trained, should be allowed to carry any weapon of any kind on a school campus. To think we have problems now with kids, wait until someone lets this foolish idea get set in place.

-- Posted by edbru on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 1:07 PM

edbru:

The problem is people who simply DO NOT CARE whether it is "allowed" or not, just as they do not care that murder is not "allowed".

...and they won't be stopped by signs, any more than they are stopped by laws.

Or denial, for that matter.

-- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 5:19 AM

Owen

You are totally correct in saying that people DO NOT CARE. If more individuals cared about the schools, we sure wouldn't have the problems we have now. And there wouldn't be a need for an officer at the school. It would probably take a major tragedy to get some to even look at what is happening. Your thoughts Owen????

-- Posted by edbru on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 7:02 AM

edbru, I pointed out that there were SOME people who don't care. I was neither saying nor implying that people IN GENERAL do not care.

You seem to be referring to changes in societal values. I think it's important to realize that any "society" is nothing more than the sum total of the INDIVIDUALS that make up that society, just as trees make up a forest.

Society therefore includes you....and me.....and everyone else. If you want to change society, you can't just expect others to make it happen. You've got to make it happen yourself. Stand up and be heard. Don't be afraid to draw attention to bad behavior. You'd be surprised at how little it actually takes, sometimes.

Huge forest fires start from tiny sparks. Those sparks are snuffed out a whole lot easier than the ensuing fire.

"Excuse me, but I think you dropped that..." (cigarette pack on the ground)

"THAT was rude......" (talking to her like that)

"You're planning on PAYING for that, right...?" (the grapes they're eating in the grocery aisle)

"If you two can't get along, maybe you should each go your own way...." (instead of cursing and posturing at each other, looking to see who will throw the first punch)

Imagine if it were JUST as likely that someone -anyone- WOULD publicly (though tactfully) shame you for your bad behavior as it is CURRENTLY likely that they will NOT.....

-- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:19 PM

I stand corrected. I did mean that SOME don't care. Most people do care about what happens. I just worded it wrong. Thanks for letting me know.

-- Posted by edbru on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 7:14 AM

I agree that teachers should NOT be allowed to carry weapons in school. Only trained police officers who serve to protect should be allowed. Teachers are paid to teach. Next thing you know, the teachers union will want even more money for their teachers because of their ability to protect.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 1:18 PM

It should be clear that teachers would have an unfair tactical advantage over the students in case of a violent attack. The solution would be to equally arm the students to balance the engagement of hostilities.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Sun, Feb 20, 2011, at 5:24 PM

I agree with Owen. And always get a chuckle from CPB...I enjoy his views as well. Anyone ever heard the saying; "Your not breaking the law until you get caught."

This is the way it has been, is, and always will be, no matter what. The problem with society today is much deeper then this. It started in the home many, many years ago.

The only thing that I have heard or seen of someone publicly shaming someone is when they call the CPS for someone chastising their child in public for bad behavior. Everyone knows that positive and negative social views, and morality is learned in the home, long before a child becomes an adult, and responsible for his or her own behavior.

Why is it today more then ever before, parents are publicly attacked and badgered for their role in teaching their children values, morality, and differences between right and wrong. If I see a mother swat her child on the rear for throwing a tantrum in Wal-Mart I say hooray for her. Time out once you get home is not working.

Everything starts at home. Sad thing is, it is very hard to have a parent at home to teach children during their free time in this day and age. Lifestyles today cost too much for a single income family to survive, so both parents are out breaking their backs all day, and coming home to their children, too tired to put forth full effort and attention. I commend those that are at home working with their children at all times, for they are the ones that are growing positive societies, one person at a time.

When you walk with your children, take a trash bag with you, and have them help you pick trash from the gutters, let them know how disgusting it is that people treat the earth in this manner.

When you are speaking amongst adults be weary of what you say about others in front of your children, lest you have already decided that they carry all of your own views into their life and adulthood.

Pray with your children every night before bed, and every day before school, and again at dinner, so they might realize how thankful they really should be.

Treat others with respect, courtesy, and kindness at all times. However, do not be afraid to stand up against those that disrespect you, degrade, or attempt to hurt you.

God Bless You All! It makes for a great day when you can read others thoughts and opinions that are at times similar to your own.

-- Posted by cplcac on Mon, Feb 21, 2011, at 4:09 AM

It would be up to each school board and would be a good idea to let them choose if they want this or not. I thought you liberals were all about choice?

-- Posted by Chaco1 on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 10:36 AM

Alright, I have kids in school, I don't know if those that advocate the induction of firearms in educational institutions do but let me be perfectly clear and simplistic:

It takes ONLY an 8 to 16 hour course with nominal firearms handling instruction and a whopping 70% minimum test score, to get a concealed pistol permit. This does not require continued training so if desired by the permit / pistol holder, they can carry a loaded gun into the school with maybe 2 hours of actual discharging experience and perhaps a passing score of 70%. That is the dumbest thing I've ever seen considered.

Prior to this, any firearms at all were prohibited on ANY educational grounds which included public schools, advanced and higher educational institutions, tech schools, pre-schools, and beauty academies. WHY do you suppose? If I were on the school board I would prohibit such a thing in closed session, then slap a sign on all entrances that stated that certain staff was armed with firearms and be done with it.

For a police officer to state that this is a good idea just scares me. I would also shy away from a surgeon advocating teachers to perform medical procedures on a child.

I'm sure that our School Board won't allow it and I'm thankful for that BUT again, those that support the idea have me nervous, one of which has vowed to protect and to serve. If I was in his shoes I would take comfort in the fact that anyone under-trained and inexperienced in fire arms discharge would be much less likely to hit ME with one of those bullets... But where are those bullets going if they're missing their intended target even if they are intended for the protection of the children in school? The outcome looks grim to me.

You wouldn't put a wolf in your home to protect against a mountain lion from attacking your family would you? The risk of friendly fire outweighs the risk terrorist forces overtaking the institution. Shouldn't we be looking into something more logical than an old fashioned wild west shoot-out?

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Feb 26, 2011, at 11:24 PM


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