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Post Falls School Safety Forum - Missing The Mark

Shared from a friend:

"I read with disdain the worn out “gun-free-zone in schools" narrative reaffirmed by Post Falls Superintendent Dena Naccarato and the Post Falls Police plus the Kootenai Fire Chief Chris Way (what was he doing there?) in a Press article by Devin Weeks on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (bottom of this email)

Today, July 28, 2022, The Press published a My Turn opinion by Dale Gibboney refuting that same worn out narrative, encouraging the Post Falls School District and others to think outside the box in preparing for the unthinkable. (immediately below)"

"Post Falls School Safety Forum ‘missing the mark’

By DALE GIBBONEY/Guest Opinion

CdA Press July 28, 2022

The Uvalde school shooting is the most recent school shooting; but, unfortunately, will not be the last.

From what I was told, at the Post Falls School Safety Forum, the only things that can be done to prepare for school shooters are training to respond and lockdown drills. This “preparation” is in response to a shooter already in the school.

What they should be doing is trying to prevent a mass shooting at the schools in Post Falls by “hardening” the school site. Simply locking the doors is not enough.

Uvalde had a very strict policy of locking all doors (exterior and classroom). Maybe everyone is going with the odds that a mass shooting will not happen at one of our schools. Odds are that it won’t happen. However, if it does, the results would be so devastating that it is difficult to comprehend. Imagine the carnage left in the classroom in Uvalde with 19 fourth graders and two teachers killed. The effect on family, friends and co-workers, as well as the community, has been and is devastating. It is LIFE-CHANGING for all.

Is the Post Falls School District willing to bet all of that on the odds that it won’t happen? It seems the Post Falls police and school district are doing just that.

Because what they have come up with in response, so far, is only four SRO for 11 schools and “run, hide, fight” which won’t work in a classroom (they should be embarrassed with that last idea). There are many things that can be done to prevent a mass shooting. However, Superintendent Dena Naccarato and the Post Falls police department only come up with reasons why they can’t do any more than the suggested lockdowns and run, hide and fight. Some of the school classrooms don’t even have any doors to lock. To make matters worse, there are security cameras which nobody monitors on a consistent basis and they “can’t afford to pay someone to monitor the system.”

Perhaps, this would be a good way to utilize parent or community volunteers?

If you really want to do something, you will find a way to do it. If you don’t want to do something, you will find excuses not to do what needs to be done.

The police are minutes away when you need them right now. Even if the SRO is on campus, they are likely, at a minimum, 60 seconds way from a shooter. Imagine what it would look like if a shooter is left unchallenged for just one minute in a classroom full of kids. Now, what if it was three minutes response time? That should tell you that an armed teacher is the best solution to this problem. They are already in the classroom. Most shooters will give up or flee as soon as they are challenged by someone else with a gun.

When Superintendent Naccarato says they can’t arm the teachers, she means they won’t arm the teachers. She said that the school board needs to act.

Well, present them with a common-sense plan.

Teachers don’t need to be trained like police officers.

They would not be armed to act like a SWAT team, just to keep the shooter out of their classrooms. They just need to know how to use a gun and be taught what a mass shooter looks like coming into their classroom with a gun (sarcasm). Don’t you think the teachers who were killed at Uvalde would like to have had a chance to defend themselves against the shooter? Not all teachers would want to be armed or are capable of being armed.

Give those who are willing to be armed a chance to defend themselves and their students.

The argument is that they can’t arm the teachers because they don’t have enough money to train them. Same goes for armed security, they say they don’t have enough money. Well, please start to think outside the box. There are so many retired police officers in Post Falls that would surely volunteer their time to provide security. There are many retired military that would likely do the same.

However, you don’t need former police or military, there are plenty of capable men and women who could do the job. Do we need to go over the thousands and thousands of civilians without police or military training that have successfully defended themselves with a firearm in this country?

The recent shooting at the Greenwood Mall in Indiana had an armed civilian with no police or military training put down the shooter 15 seconds after the bad guy started shooting. Eight of the 10 shots fired from a distance of 40 or 50 yards by the good Samaritan hit the suspect.

By their tone, I assume, that Post Falls police and the school superintendent think that citizens should not be able to carry a gun to protect themselves or to stop a mass shooting.

Police said they could accidentally shoot a teacher who was armed. Would the police response to a mass shooting at a school be any different than their response to a mass shooting off campus? There are many people in Idaho who carry guns and are prepared to use them to protect themselves and others. The police are aware of the possibility of an armed citizen and must be cautious then, too. But I’m willing to bet that it would be easier to pick out a teacher at school with a gun from the bad guy shooting the students. How soon would these problems be solved if we had a mass shooting at one of the Post Falls schools this fall? Who in the school and city administrations wants to tell the parents we couldn’t protect the children because we couldn’t think outside the box and could only come up with ideas on how to respond to a mass shooting and not to prevent one.

Superintendent Naccarato played the “what-if” game.

What if we arm the teachers and during a mass shooting one of the teacher’s rounds hits a student? I’ll play the what-if game with you. What if you have a mass shooter and the teacher is not armed and the shooter kills 19 students and two teachers?

And, what if the teacher is armed and one of the teacher’s rounds doesn’t hit a student, but stops the shooter? Can’t afford to train everyone? I’m sure the teachers who would be willing to carry a firearm at school would volunteer their time to be trained. There are many former police and NRA-certified instructors who would be willing to volunteer to do the training. I’ll bet some of the PF officers who have kids in school would be willing to volunteer to train teachers. It doesn’t need to be a five-month police academy.

If the teacher is already familiar with guns and you can’t do it in a two-day weekend course, something is wrong. Follow-up recurrent training would certainly be in order. And, if you have someone who needs more instruction, get it for them.

The comment was made that Post Falls police are trained to run toward the threat. So were the 376 officers who were at the Uvalde shooting. Again, we don’t want to have to respond to a shooting at the schools, we need to prevent a mass shooting. There are many details that would need to be worked out. So sit down and start getting them worked out now. The ridiculous idea of “run, hide, fight” won’t work in a school classroom.

Joe Biden came up with the idea of a Gun Free School Zone in 1999. It was a stupid idea then and it is a stupid idea now. That policy has never stopped a shooter, it invites them. It is so strange that in Idaho, where there are so many people walking around in public armed, that we have such a limitation at schools. Schools are where the good guys need to be armed to protect the students. We need leadership now that will secure our schools and keep our students safe.

Having armed teachers and armed security at the school would most likely be enough to prevent anyone from trying a mass shooting.

There are leaders who solve problems and leaders who study problems. Question is, which one do we have in charge of our student’s safety? So far, I fear we have the latter."

••• Dale Gibboney is a Post Falls resident.

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