Gun violence in schools continue to be in the news.
Just more than one month ago 26 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school. Closer to home, St. Louis had an instance of gun violence on Tuesday.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an on-again, off-again student shot an employee of the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts on Tuesday afternoon. Police told the paper the shooting was the result of a dispute about financial aid.
Tuesday's school shooting once again, brings the topic of school safety to the minds of many. In St. Charles County, discussions have already begun about the state of safety of the schools. The discussion will continue next week, Jan. 22, at the second meeting of the Schools, Mental Health And Emergency Services Task Force.
In December, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann named 14 people, including St. Peters Police Chief Tom Bishop to task force in response to the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting. Last week, on Jan. 8, the task force met for the first time. The task force has no legislative powers—it can't force any school to do anything—but the goal is to start the conversation about school safety and make sure everything that can be done is being done.
During the initial meeting, the task force talked about the procedures already in place. The St. Charles County Sheriff's Department said, after reviewing the plans, all the schools had good solutions in place in the evident of an incident taking place on campus.
The task force also discussed how important mental health is, but it was pointed out that there is often goals bigger than the budget allows.
Funding issues also came up during the presentation on school resource officers. Putting a police officer in every school is costly, and something Bishop was not in favor of doing. Bishop said in high school, the officer is still acting like an officer—breaking up fights, dealing with drugs and things like that. As the students get younger, it becomes a different job, a security job. Bishop said that in his opinion a security job wasn't the best use of law enforcement.
Those interested in sharing comments with task force before the next meeting can do so in writing. Concerned citizens may leave comments with staff at the task force meeting, provide it by email to Kelley Gibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 636.949.7521 addressed to the Task Force or send comments by United States Mail to: 100 N. Third Street, Suite 318, St. Charles, MO 63301. All comments will be shared with the Task Force. Comments should focus on information that would be of benefit to the Task Force generally.