State superintendent candidate backs armed security in schools

2013-02-02T08:35:00Z 2013-02-02T14:03:01Z State superintendent candidate backs armed security in schoolsMatthew DeFour | mdefour@madison.com La Crosse Tribune
February 02, 2013 8:35 am  • 

The challenger in the spring election for state superintendent of public instruction said he would support school districts arming teachers, staff or volunteers to protect student safety.

Rep. Don Pridemore, R-Erin, said in an interview Friday that he is not calling for putting armed guards in all schools, as the National Rifle Association suggested after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.

But Pridemore said unlike State Superintendent Tony Evers he would support a school district if it chooses to use armed personnel other than police officers.

"Under my tenure at DPI we'd do nothing to hinder that," Pridemore said.

Pridemore issued a statement Thursday saying school boards "should be given the freedom to hire a competent, well-trained school official or employee who is experienced with applying force whenever force is required" such as a retired or on-duty police officer. He also suggested schools could rely on volunteers in such circumstances.

Evers said in response to Pridemore's statement that many school districts already have police officers in schools, which he will continue to support.

"I do not support arming teachers, custodians and school personnel," Evers said. "This will not make kids more safe and is not the right atmosphere to help students to learn."

State and federal Gun Free School Zone laws allow school districts to contract with individuals or agencies to carry guns in schools for security purposes.

Madison, like many large districts, assigns a police officer to each of its high schools, but not to its elementary and middle schools.

Most school districts, especially small, rural districts, do not have police officers in schools because of the cost, said Dan Rossmiller, government affairs director of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

Rossmiller said school boards support having armed police officers in schools, but not arming teachers. He said liability insurance carriers might have issues with volunteers carrying guns in schools.

"Probably the biggest impediment to schools bringing in trained law enforcement officers is the revenue limits which the Legislature sets," Rossmiller said.

Pridemore said the most cost-effective approach would be for districts to ask qualified, retired volunteers from their community to patrol schools. He said the criteria for choosing who can serve in this role should be up to the local community and not the Department of Public Instruction.

"DPI can certainly make recommendations on how to proceed but the final decision should be made by the local officials and must be a priority in today's world," Pridemore said.

Christina Brey, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state's largest teachers union, said police officers in schools form relationships with students and aren't just armed guards in hallways.

"I haven't heard any talk of people trying to put volunteer police officers in schools," Brey said. "What we hear more from rural districts is we need the resources from the state so that whatever supports are essential for keeping kids safe are in place."

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. LAXTEA
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - February 03, 2013 8:48 am
    NYPD hit rates are "reported" between 8% and 17% which means they are actually MUCH worse. And they only qualify once a year with a stationary target.
  2. Tim Russell
    Report Abuse
    Tim Russell - February 02, 2013 5:37 pm
    I'm pretty sure members of the Police force have to keep up on their shooting skills Beast.
    Most CCers can't hit the broad side of a barn.
  3. Report Abuse
    - February 02, 2013 4:39 pm

    @Tim Russell

    "The only real fix for it would be to put armed guards EVERYWHERE."

    _______________________________________________________________

    Timmy, it is great to see your a 2nd amendment advocate and show your support for Wisconsin's conceal carry law. This will put armed "guards" EVERYWHERE.

    Thank you Governor Scott Walker for passing conceal carry!
  4. Tim Russell
    Report Abuse
    Tim Russell - February 02, 2013 4:14 pm
    Killers would just target the security guards first or alternately, they would just move on to softer targets like day care centers or playgrounds. The only real fix for it would be to put armed guards EVERYWHERE.
  5. Tim Russell
    Report Abuse
    Tim Russell - February 02, 2013 4:03 pm
    Rep. Ron Paul doesn't agree with the National Rifle Association's call to put armed guards in every school. The Texas Republican says in a statement on his congressional website that "government security is just another kind of violence."

    "Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?" Paul wrote.
    "We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided 'security,' a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America."


  6. Report Abuse
    - February 02, 2013 12:20 pm
    I am glad to see you are then in favor of arming our teachers.
  7. Report Abuse
    - February 02, 2013 12:19 pm
    Let me be on record as saying that I am 100% against putting any type of weapons/guns or armed security in schoos.

    However, I am in favor of putting armed teachers and/or armed security in SCHOOLS.
  8. Napoleon
    Report Abuse
    Napoleon - February 02, 2013 11:32 am
    Airports: guards.

    Celebs: guards.

    Banks: guards.

    Malls: guards.

    Stadiums: guards.

    Courtrooms: guards.

    Schools: a useless sign on the door that says "gun-free zone," proper security is considered by locals to be too expensive.

    "Biden: New gun controls likely won't end shootings"

    "Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that new gun laws would not "fundamentally alter" the likelihood of another mass shooting"

    "Nothing we're going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to 1,000 a year from what it is now," Biden told reporters Thursday afternoon after he spent over an hour lunching with Democratic senators at the Capitol."

    http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/31/16794835-biden-new-gun-controls-likely-wont-end-shootings
  9. Monteee
    Report Abuse
    Monteee - February 02, 2013 10:48 am
    I'm all for putting armed security personnel in our schools. REAL security personnel, who have police training and experience. If that means paying extra, then so be it. I'd rather not see some low-salaried gomer who has no professional training just going thru the motions everyday.
  10. Monteee
    Report Abuse
    Monteee - February 02, 2013 10:33 am
    Tim, methinks you should read up on the concept of the "police state" before you comment on it again.
  11. Buggs Raplin
    Report Abuse
    Buggs Raplin - February 02, 2013 9:57 am
    Typical nonsense. Tim, do you think before you type? Try it some time.
  12. BJM
    Report Abuse
    BJM - February 02, 2013 9:33 am
    Proofread your headlines much Trib?
  13. Tim Russell
    Report Abuse
    Tim Russell - February 02, 2013 9:08 am
    Armed Guards in Elementary Schools = Police State
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