In the headline in the Transcript, North Adams School Committee member John Hockridge stated he opposes armed security in our schools, as proposed by the National Rifle Association. Mr. Hockridge misses the target.
I don’t know Mr. Hockridge personally, but I am sure he is an outstanding member of the School Committee, and that he is highly concerned for the safety of our school children. He also misses the point that some time ago the MCLA administration decided to arm the campus police -- they were way ahead of the curve. So, why not the same for our public schools?
Armed security is not a new idea and is already taking place in other cities throughout the country. Mr. Hockridge hasn’t considered or put forth his own plan for safety and security of the North Adams public school students. Has the North Adams School Building Committee revisited the security and safeguards for the proposed Conte school in light of the Newtown tragedy?
Have you, Mr. Hockridge, considered security cameras, locked doors with wire-encased windows or shades so during an emergency no one can see inside? I am sure there are many other safeguards that should be considered. But to just disregard a suggestion by the NRA is short-sighted. Is banning assault weapons the answer to school safety?
In all the conversations on radio, television and in the newspapers, I don’t see much about the prosecutors and judges doing their jobs by enforcing the gun laws to the max. Massachusetts has some of the strongest gun laws in the country. There is a law, the Bartley-Fox Law, that provides for a one-year mandatory jail sentence, and is not being enforced. There are over 2,000 other gun laws that are currently not being enforced enough. In my opinion, this is the problem.
And where was the chairman of the North Adams School Committee, Mayor Richard Alcombright, who serves along with Mr. Hockridge, when during a meeting at Drury High School for the proposed Proposition 2 1/2 override, a teacher stood up and stated that if Prop 2 1/2 doesn’t pass, students will get guns and rob the public for the money for extra curricular activities?
So with that being said, lets not erode the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Massachusetts Constitution. We need to have open discussion, listen to everyone’s suggestions and come up with some reasonable solutions. Then we can all be safer and remain free as a nation.