July 31, 2014

State’s top educator calls for no hasty decisions on guns & schools

Last week’s elementary school massacre in Connecticut is prompting a list of suggestions for preventing a repeat — but some of the ideas are a bit too hasty.

Jason Glass, director of Iowa’s Department of Education, says for the moment, school administrators should be focusing on ensuring they have adequate safety systems.

“I think, right now, we have to slow down because there are extreme positions being taken that are based in grief and pain and we see some groups and individuals that want to ban guns altogether,” Glass says. “We see other groups and individuals that want to arm educators. These are very different reactions to the same problem.”

Glass says if guns are allowed into schools, they should carried by trained law officers.

“I am not an advocate of arming teachers,” Glass says. “We need to have guns in the hands of trained professionals who are peace officers. That’s the individuals who should be carrying weapons in any of our schools.”

Glass is advocating a thoughtful appraisal of school safety and says he has NO immediate plans for legislative requests on the subject. Glass is cautioning against making snap decisions.

“I think a prudent postion is to make sure our schools have quality safety systems in place,” he says. “That’s a good place to start and then I think a prudent reaction, too, is if we are going to have armed individuals within our schools to protect children, we make sure those are peace officers and they’re trained. We don’t want to create a situation where we have the wild, wild west operating in our schools.”

Glass says the safety procedures in place at the Connecticut school saved lives.