Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chandler and "Dangerous Schools"

The Chandler Unified School District is voting this week on a proposal to notify and allow parents of students who attend "dangerous schools" to transfer out.  They consider a "dangerous school" to be one in which four or more firearms are found in a year, or four gun-related incidents have occurred.  If passed, parents of children in these schools will be notified and allowed to switch their children to another school.

Now, I agree with the idea of allowing parents to opt out of sending their child to a potentially dangerous school.  It doesn't seem fair to keep kids in a school based solely on their geographic location and school boundaries.  I most certainly would not want to knowingly send my daughters to a school that has a history of violence (although being the conscientious parent I am, I would have done thorough research on the school before sending my children there anyway).  However, it seems a bit like solving the symptom and not the original problem.  If a school is labeled as dangerous and parents are notified, what happens when a good majority of the kids (many of them being the "dangerous" ones who brought firearms to school) are transferred to other schools.  Won't that just shift the problem of gun-toting to a school that may have in the past not had any firearm issues?  Those kids are still going to be bringing guns to school, no matter which one they attend.

Or you could allow the non-gun-toting kids to transfer out but not the gun-carrying ones.  That would leave you with a small-attended school filled with only the kids who enjoy bringing guns to school and flashing them around, or even worse, shooting them off.  Now, who is going to want to teach at this school?  I certainly wouldn't put my life in that kind of danger for the joy of teaching!

I agree with the motive of the Chandler School District to provide a safer learning environment for all children, however, I think that focusing on solving the societal issue of kids and guns might be a more productive place to start.  Yes, it is a big issue but you can only treat the symptoms for so long and eventually you have to address the original issue in order to change it.