Seattle school district declares opposition to arming teachers

Mar 1, 2018, 12:54 PM | Updated: 12:58 pm

The Seattle School Board passed a resolution officially opposing the idea of arming its teachers.

Citing state law, the board wants to maintain school policies (3248 and 4210) that already prohibit weapons and firearms on school properties. It’s also calling on state and federal lawmakers to enact “sensible gun safety legislation.”

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“It is the belief of the Board of Directors that Seattle and Washington State must be national leaders in innovative and meaningful policy to confront gun violence,” the board wrote in its resolution.

Specifically, the board wants to raise the age to purchase assault weapons to 21, implement Enhanced Background Checks for Assault Weapons, ban the purchase and sale of “assault” or semi- automatic rifles and of any accessories designed to increase a gun’s rate of fire, establish safety programs in schools that do not include arming educators or staff, eliminate private gun sale loopholes, provide funding for thorough gun violence research, including removing the prohibition on research and data collection by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), support prevention, intervention and community re-entry programs that reduce community and gun violence, and increased funding for programs and school staffing (i.e. counselors, nurses, and psychologists) that support student mental health, social and emotional learning, and anti-bulling.

The board has endorsed several pieces of legislation currently up for vote in Olympia, including Engrossed Senate Bill 5992, and Senate Bill 6620 and House Bill 3004.

Finally, the board says it will participate in the student-led “March for Our Lives” (from Cal Anderson Park to KeyArena) on Saturday, March 24.

Students are also planning to take part in “The National School Walkout” on March 14 at 10 a.m. (in each time zone) that will last 17 minutes to honor the 17 students and staff members killed in Parkland, FL. The goal is to call on Congress to “pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship,” according to Women’s March Youth EMPOWER organizers. Some schools won’t recognize the walkout and will discipline students who participate.

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Another national walkout is scheduled for April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has phoned Sen. Pat Toomey to express support for his proposal on background checks for gun purchases. Toomey and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia wrote bipartisan legislation on the subject and Trump appears to consider it the main bill Congress should build on.

Toomey told The Associated Press on Thursday that Trump “continues to be very interested in supporting and working with us,” with the Manchin-Toomey bill as “the core legislative vehicle.”

The bill would broaden background checks to include pre-purchase reviews for online and gun show sales. It failed in the Senate after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Seattle school district declares opposition to arming teachers