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Gun-Free Grosse Pointe Schools

Acting out of a sense of fear is no way to run a school district. Sign up for email alerts to help Grosse Pointe Public Schools stay gun free.

In the 9 days since installing armed guards in Grosse Pointe schools was officially proposed, the opposition has been swift, intense, and ineffectively fragmented.

A few comments on a facebook page here, some tweets there.  A comment or two after a news article.  The reckless idea of allowing guns into our schools needs to be taken more seriously.  Blog posts and social media push back are not enough.  This is a very real proposal being pushed by a former school board candidate at a time when people are scared and looking for solutions.

But we deserve solutions that work.  It has been proven that armed guards will not solve the problem.

The Federal Government is currently making available $150 million in grant money to help districts secure their buildings with doors, locks, and windows that can keep out potential shooters, as well as expand counseling programs and help schools across the country create a safer and more nurturing school environment.  This is a practical and realistic way of approaching the problem, and it is what we need to be doing here in Grosse Pointe.

If we do not organize our support for these sensible solutions, however, the fear that drives support for proposals that make some people feel better but actually do nothing to solve the problem may also drive the school board here in Grosse Pointe to enact these policies.

For that reason, I am encouraging people to support Gun-Free Grosse Pointe Schools by clicking here and signing up for this email list.  Share the link on facebook, tweet it, and email it to anyone you know here in Grosse Pointe who supports realistic solutions and rejects the idea that throwing more guns at the problem will do anything.

Recently in Lapeer, an armed security guard hired in the wake of Sandy Hook left his gun unattended in a public restroom.  Because of an armed guard, every child and educator in that building was put at risk.  They were no safer because of him.

We need to unite against this destructive idea.  Sign up now and share this list.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John January 22, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Christopher, your passion to solve this problem is commendable. $150 million is chump change, however, and not nearly enough to put a dent in the overhaul that would be needed to make schools across this country safe. Each school shooting that occurs is bigger and bolder than the previous one. Right now, there are probably a dozen nuts out there thinking about ways they can make a bigger splash than Sandy Hook. In the meantime, the government is trying to focus on guns as if these nuts would willingly give them up. And what is going to deter the nuts of the world? In my humble opinion, nothing. Anyone who wants to do this is going to do it. Examine the planning that went into Columbine. Klebold and Harris were two very determined individuals. They had explosives as well as firearms. A locked door would not have been a problem had they wished to gain entry to that school. I agree with making the schools safer, but you are talking about fitting every school with ballistic doors and windows. Is that realistic? Think of the cost and time involved in doing that. I'll ask this: if Adam Lanza had blasted his way into your kid's school would you not want a highly-trained, well-armed police officer inside who could have blown his head off right then and there, before he could have slaughtered those innocent angels? Please don't discount the possibility of armed intervention when it may be the most immediate and practical solution out there.
Christopher Profeta January 22, 2013 at 09:17 PM
John, As a parent and educator at the college level, I deal every day with the fears you are addressing. Allowing the carrying of firearms in our schools, however, will not make our children any safer. There were armed guards at Columbine who were unable to stop 13 people from being killed. There were armed guards at Virginia Tech who were unable to stop 32 people from being killed. There were armed members of the crowd at Gabby Giffords' event in Tuscon Arizon who were unable to stop 6 deaths there. The Cinemark theater in Colorado had a policy of patrolling the theater with armed guards every Friday and Saturday night, but that policy did noting to stop the deaths of 12 people there. Add to that the event at the school in Lapeer where an armed guard left his gun unattended in a public restroom, and it because clear just how ineffective a policy of armed security guards in schools would be. I'm not prepared to give up an any child, John. To suggest that providing counseling services to troubled kids would do nothing to deter them from acting out violently is incorrect. Supplying all kids with the needed skills and education to have productive lives as adults is the number one responsibility of our schools, it's all of our responsibilities as adults. I understand and respect where people are coming from when they argue for arming our schools, I just don't think it will work.
GP For Life January 22, 2013 at 09:38 PM
To be frank, worrying about the remote possibility of a school shooting is pretty much idiotic. You want to reduce this remote possibility? Then stop giving the shooters the attention they were seeking when they pulled the trigger.
John January 23, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Christopher, I am not talking about armed guards, I am talking about highly-trained and well-armed police officers. There is a difference. Gabby Giffords was an outdoor event, so it is difficult to compare that to a school shooting. No one suggested giving up on children, however, no amount of counseling is going to deter EVERY child or young adult from acting out violently. There will always be the Klebolds, Harrises, Lanzas, Loughners, and Chos. At the point of no return, when they have committed to their heinous act, there is only one way they can be stopped and that is with an IMMEDIATE, on-site armed response. I think that if school districts combine what you are suggesting, (the counseling and better security measures), with what I am suggesting, the schools will be safer.
Christopher Profeta January 23, 2013 at 01:01 AM
I would certainly not oppose outright a proposal that combined security and counseling. My opposition to an armed presence in our schools is not idealogical. I am a realistic person. I'm against the idea because it won't work. But if it were included with things that will work, that's a different story. It really just depends on how it is written.
Emma Ockerman January 23, 2013 at 02:20 AM
Hello Christopher, My name is Emma, I'm a reporter for Grosse Pointe North's publication, the North Pointe. I was hoping you could contact me so I could ask you a few questions regarding this post for an article were writing on the proposal, my email is xemmanoelx3@aol.com Thank you!
John January 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Christopher, how do you know it won't work? Are you saying that if an armed intruder enters a school you would prefer not having an armed resistance immediately available to stop the threat? Again, not an "armed guard", but a highly-trained, well-armed police officer? Clear this up for me, because I think that we should do ALL that we can to keep our children safe, and I am trying to understand where you draw the line on what is an acceptable method of keeping them safe and what is not. Saying that you are against the idea because it won't work is not an argument. Remember, the individuals who have attacked these schools have been willing to sacrifice their lives to do it. They are not normal criminals, whose ultimate goal is to commit a crime and go on living. Their end-game is to kill as many innocent people as possible, period. When they walk into a school it is too late for counseling and providing them with all the skills and education they need to be productive. They have committed to the path of destruction and at that point there would be only one way to stop them. Now, I am not saying that we should not do the things that you suggest. By all means, do everything possible to counsel troubled youth and direct them down the good path of life. However, we cannot put all of our eggs in one basket. We cannot rely solely on counseling to do the job. Officers in schools are an insurance policy against the unthinkable.
Christopher Profeta January 23, 2013 at 02:02 PM
I agree with you that a combination of approaches makes more sense than simply throwing guns at the problem, as the NRA backed proposal currently on the table does. I know that an armed presence inside of our schools wouldn't work because history paints a pretty grim picture of the effectiveness of that idea. There was an armed presence at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tuscon, and Colorado that was not enough to stop those massacres. Plus, the man who left his gun unattended in a school bathroom in Lapeer was a retired police officer. I can support the idea of an expanded police presence in conjunction with other security measures and expanding counseling in our schools, but full time permanent armed guards on campus is dangerously ineffective, and will only heighten tensions and fears that already exist. I understand and respect the desire to solve this problem, and I think we are in agreement that there are a lot of good ideas out there. I believe that rational people can sit down and come up with a more realistic proposal than what has currently been put forward.
John January 23, 2013 at 03:05 PM
I agree, Christopher. While it is a shame that society has come to this, we have no choice. We need to fortify the schools and place armed officers inside. Then our innocent children will have a chance should one of these evildoers attacks the school.
GpGr67 January 23, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Everyone who supports the idea of putting police offiers in all schools is doing exactly what the NRA wants - deflecting the attention away from guns and clouding up the argument, so they can continue to support gun manufacturers in maximizing their profits. Does anyone even think further than an initial "news byte"? How do you propose schools, particularly those in Michigan, will pay for these trained, armed police officers when the State has cut funding to schools so much that we spend more on prisons than we do on education in this State. If schools have to pay for armed police officers, these won't be $9.00/hr "rent a cops". They'll be professionals who will expect police-level pay. Let's assume we can hire one for $40,000 + benefit costs of around 35%, which is around $54,000 per officer. Grosse Pointe has 15 school buildings - one officer per building would be $810,000. But, the middle and high schools are big buildings, so you'd need more. Maybe 3 each for middle schools and 5-6 for the high schools. So, having 30 officers would be over $1,6 million at a time when all the employees in the district just took pay cuts (read the Grosse Pointe News). Would a guy with a Glock on his hip have a chance against a guy with an AR-15 with a 30 round clip, or would he likely be the first casualty? The solution isn't turning our schools into an armed fortress because we don't have the guts to stand up and make reasonable gun laws. No-one needs assault rifles in this US.
Christopher Profeta January 25, 2013 at 05:03 PM
I think we should keep the focus on schools, not the larger discussion on the second amendment. As this debate continues, it will only become clearer that installing armed guards in schools will not work. Those of us who oppose this idea are not against it because we hate guns and think no one but criminals should have them; we oppose the plan because it won’t work. It is a pragmatic position, not an ideological one. When reasonable people sit down and attempt to rationally address the issues we face, they will be able to distinguish the ideas that will work from the ideas that will simply make people feel better. Please take a look at this blog post for more info about the negative reaction to this proposal from law enforcement. http://ppemichigan.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/police-weigh-in-on-armed-guards-in-schools/
John January 25, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Yes, you are right. Take all the guns away. That will solve the problem, because of course the criminals will comply and turn in their guns. And certainly if you outlaw guns, no one will ever be able to obtain them, after all, there are only 300 million guns on the street across America right now. Do you propose confiscating these weapons? What would you consider a "reasonable gun law"? Many school districts who have police officers in their schools share the cost of those officers with the municipality that employs them. These officers often serve dual roles, providing security for the schools and handling any incidents that occur at the schools. Some schools, such as Southfield High School, actually provide the officer an office, sort of a "mini-station", inside the school. There are ways to man the schools properly and it is something that can be explored, not just dismissed because a certain number in the population don't like guns. As far as a guy with a "Glock" going up against a guy with an AR-15, well, I would put a highly-trained officer with a Glock up against a novice with any AR-15 any day. Remember, it is the person behind the gun that does the damage, not the gun itself. Please offer suggestions and solutions to the problem, instead of saying that guns are the problem.
John January 25, 2013 at 07:01 PM
"I think we should keep the focus on schools, not the larger discussion on the second amendment." - No one has mentioned the second amendment. My suggestion is for putting armed POLICE OFFICERS in our schools. I have not made this about gun control at all. "Those of us who oppose this idea are not against it because we hate guns and think no one but criminals should have them" - You seem intent on defending a position that you do not hate guns. You mention the second amendment, the NRA, and not hating guns. No one has accused you of being anti-gun. "When reasonable people sit down and attempt to rationally address the issues we face, they will be able to distinguish the ideas that will work from the ideas that will simply make people feel better." - Who do you consider reasonable? Is it not rational to explore all possibilities to solve this problem for the sake of our children? Yet you dismiss my assertion that, as a part of a comprehensive plan, placing POLICE OFFICERS in schools should be a consideration. "Please take a look at this blog post for more info about the negative reaction to this proposal from law enforcement." - This blog cites a few police officers among the thousands that work in the United States, many of whom would support the idea of working within the schools located in their jurisdiction. Please promote some ideas that will help stop this problem before it reaches the point of needing an armed presence in our schools.
Christopher Profeta January 26, 2013 at 04:21 AM
John, Sorry for the confusion. I was actually responding to GpGr67's comments. I actually think you and I agree on more than we might realize.
Concerned Citizen January 26, 2013 at 05:42 AM
Please, NO GUNS. Guns should be illegal nationwide. I don't think there were any school shootings in the times of hunting & gathering with stone weapons!!! STOP THE VIOLENCE.
John January 27, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Christopher, I think we do, Christopher. As an educator I am sure that you see many kids that slip through the cracks. There are many factors that contribute to an individual committing this sort of horrendous act. In my opinion, the biggest factor might be someone in that person's life recognizing a problem and then doing nothing about it fore fear of privacy issues. This fear is a result of the litigious society that we live in. I would still like to hear some of your suggestions as I am not in the education field.
John January 27, 2013 at 01:00 AM
O.K. this is a serious discussion, Concerned Citizen. If you want no guns in your community, move to England or the Soviet Union, or better yet, Chicago.
Christopher Profeta January 27, 2013 at 03:59 PM
I think we need to take some common sense steps to secure school buildings. A door with a buzzer and a secretary on the other end won't keep a shooter out of the building. Something as simple as a metal detector could have prevented a situation like what happened last week in Inkster where a 3rd grader brought a loaded gun to school. Additionally, I think we can have stronger doors and windows on the first floor of our buildings and that would have a significant impact. While I do not believe armed guards in our schools would be effective, we can have increased communication and cooperation with local law enforcement. One of the main reasons law enforcement across the country have opposed the NRA backed proposal of arming schools is that the people hired by schools would have no power to detain, arrest, or question any dangerous individuals. But I do believe that an extremely important piece of addressing this problem is expanding social workers and counseling programs within our schools, and training all school employees to effectively identify and intervene in potentially dangerous situations. There are kids out there with special needs that educators need to be aware of so that they can teach them more effectively, but they also need to be aware of potential safety issues as well. Not only are these common sense ideas, they would be for more effective than enacting band-aid policies that would simply make people feel better about the situation.
FarmsResident January 28, 2013 at 12:34 AM
"A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again".
Christopher Profeta January 28, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Take a look at some of the things Bloomfield Hills Schools is doing to increase cooperation with local police. http://ppemichigan.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/no-armed-guards-in-bloomfield-hills-schools/
John January 29, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Here is a good one, as well. http://www.policeone.com/active-shooter/articles/2058168-Lt-Col-Dave-Grossman-to-cops-The-enemy-is-denial/
John February 01, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Christopher, check this out- see, it can work! http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/02/01/armed-police-officer-stops-shooting-in-georgia-n1502907
Anne Jones September 26, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Teach kids safety dude http://www.airsplat.com/airsoft-safety.htm

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