To the editor:
As a retired educator and social worker, I am very proud of the Brown County schools and happy to be living in this beautiful county. Now I work with some of our most vulnerable children as a Guardian Ad Litem, and I am also on the board of the League of Women Voters and on the grants committee for the Brown County Community Foundation.
In the latter capacity, I recently learned that our sheriff reserve deputies openly carry guns in our three elementary schools and the intermediate school.
It shocks me that while trying to establish trust between law enforcement and children, we allow kids to see weapons as commonplace.
The officers read with the students or help with other subject matter, wearing holstered guns on their hips.
A request to the grants committee, which we approved, was for lockable holsters that could prevent a child from slipping a gun out of an officer’s holster.
Research at the University of Virginia shows that in spite of the high publicity accorded gun violence in our schools, they are among the safest places children can be. Locked outer doors, metal detectors, guards at entrances and required passes or appointments for outsiders can be effective deterrents to gun violence.
I understand the fear that motivates people to increase security in schools, but surely carrying weapons openly in classrooms not only inures children to guns, but, with only occasional visits by officers, offers little real protection.
If children see guns in schools, might they not come to think it’s all right for them to bring guns to school, too?
With great respect for the volunteer reserve officers and all school personnel, I ask that the policy be changed and guns be kept out of our classrooms.
Judith East, Nashville
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