Board needs transparency
To the Editor:
On one of my recent trips to visit friends and family Schuylkill County, I learned of the proposal by the Tamaqua Area School District to arm teachers in order to protect students in the event of school shooting. Many people I care about have students in the Tamaqua Area School District, so I reached out to some of them and asked what they thought of this new policy.
What I learned was that most of the parents didn’t know about this policy, how it was being crafted, who was consulted and what other plans were considered before deciding arming teachers was the best choice for the school. What was most disappointing was hearing that members of the board were condescending and rude when it came to answering the questions of concerned parents.
The lack of transparency in the board’s answers and their inability to offer concerned citizens anything in writing gives me the feeling that they didn’t do their homework on this policy. What other security plans were considered? What law enforcement was consulted? How are safety drills going to be conducted that will still protect the anonymity of teachers “anonymously” carrying guns? What experts on school safety did they talk to? What resources are available through the state and federal governments? It’s disappointing because this is a school district, not a school dictatorship. These members of the board have to remember they are elected representatives of the people and not dictators who administer policy by being complacent in their own ideals.
What some are trying to do is make this a divisive pro- gun/ anti- gun issue, and I don’t believe that’s the case. With the increased presence of guns, the chances for accidents involving guns increases. That’s not an anti- gun stance, it’s a statistically based fact and it has to be considered with this policy.
With an increased chance of accidents there is an increased liability that comes with higher insurance costs. I believe that’s the main concern of the parents. They want the safest and most cost effective environment possible for their children to be educated in.
The teachers have spoken out against this policy. Parents have spoken out against this policy. Members of local police forces have said that anonymous people with guns during a shooting increases risk of innocent people getting shot. What’s refreshing to see is that parents are getting involved, consulting experts, gathering factual data and searching for security alternatives to present to the school board.
Tamaqua is a beautiful town full of wonderful people. There’s is no reason that politics has to interfere with what’s best for students, teachers and the community as a whole. The school board would be wise to open their minds and listen to the concerns of the parties involved and consider other alternatives.
I believe all the members of the board are all reasonable people. They would be foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity to craft good policy with the people they serve instead of putting forth poorly researched policy because they are in power. If they are foolish, they will be remembered as such come election time.
Hoping cooler heads prevail,
Daniel Urban, Windham, Conn. Formerly of Coaldale