Guns vs. Crayons: Concerned St. Peters Parent Searches For Answers After Sandy Hook Shootings

A local mother shares her thoughts on school safety and what more can be done in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Editor's Note: Letters to the Editor are welcomed by Patch. The opinions expressed in letters are only that of the letter writer and do not represent Patch. The letters solely represent the views of the author and have not been edited other than to check for spelling errors.

Letter to the Editor:

This is a portion of the letter that I recently sent to my daughter’s school. Just an opinion of a concerned parent…

I think for everyone this unimaginable horror has left us with an uneasy feeling and worry in our hearts. How could it be any other way? Children truly are our most prized possession and we must protect them, now. We cannot send the school staff members into a gun fight with crayons and a stamp pad.

As my husband and I are talking through ways to protect children in schools, he had an interesting point.

Even though we use key cards and a buzz in system (similar to Sandy Hook Elementary), we too have windows that could be shot out in an identical fashion at the school our daughter attends.

Two distinct solutions came to our minds. The first solution would be to have a trained, armed person(s) in the building. Possibly any staff that feels they would be capable and would volunteer to carry or have access to a weapon on premises.

For instance, possibly the maintenance personnel, or if one of the front office staff felt comfortable with keeping a locked weapon in their desk for such an emergency. Obviously this would come with some responsibility of target practice quarterly or something of that nature, but as a parent I would be comfortable with someone on the support staff having a weapon locked in a safe box for an emergency situation that require lethal force.

We also believe trained voluntary personnel with concealed carry is a reasonable solution. If the St. Louis County Police are suggesting it, shouldn't we consider it?

Secondly, my husband pointed out a very simple/easy solution that would have reduced the fatalities, which is keep all doors locked to the outside hallways. Have people knock or ring a bell to enter the room. I realize this is an extra step to get into the room and a little more work for the staff, but if all the doors would have been locked it appears that would have bought the teachers the time they needed to protect some if not all of the students.

Realistically, this is not a huge undertaking and after the drop off / pick up hours it would be a very minimal change to daily life at the facility. On the long-term thought of this, there could be keycard entry into each room (using the same cards) and the cards are programmed only for the room(s) where you have your children. Your badge into the building and then again into each individual child’s room which remains locked to anyone not carrying the proper key.

(NOTE: In response to my letter I am being told by the district that keeping doors locked is not allowed unless there is an intruder in the building. WHY? Should we reevaluate our reasoning on this rule?)

We just wanted to make a few suggestions for things that might want to be considered to increase the safety and security of the kids at the school. Of course we are all frightened at the thought that this could EVER happen.

If there is ANYTHING we can do to protect our children then I think we have to consider all options to making the schools a safer place. All weapons will not be off the street tomorrow, the next day or next year. Either will the people that are willing to do horrible acts. As much as I would like to live in the world and pretend this could NEVER happen at school, it just isn’t the reality of the world we are living in. So getting real and looking for real solutions is at the forefront of my thoughts at the moment.

I have friends on both sides of the gun control conflict. I have friends that not only own, but build and sell automatic weapons and I have friends that think guns should be outlawed.

I say to all of my friends this: I think we are all speaking from our hearts because you can't get over this devastating loss of little kids without looking for an answer to prevent it from EVER happening again. I don't know what the answer is, but we must continue to talk about it and look for it. There is nothing wrong with both sides being heard and figuring out something in the middle because we ALL WANT THE SAME THING, truly we do. We all want our kids to be safe.

So as people voice their differing opinions, please keep an open mind for the solution because we are all striving for the same outcome. God Bless the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Thank you for your time and for your consideration,

Katie Thompson 


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