Vail Daily letter: Time to support schools with tax increase?
Ryan Summerlin April 6, 2013
We’d love to get your feedback.
The Education Foundation of Eagle County is dedicated to improving the quality of public education by attracting, procuring and effectively distributing resources and organizing community and school district initiatives in support of our schools, our teachers and our students.
The purpose of our foundation is to make specific and targeted recommendations to, and to work in conjunction with the district to retain our most qualified teachers, preserve staffing levels, maintain smaller class sizes, conserve and improve one-on-one student-teacher ratios and to protect vital programs and curricula that due to state funding cuts, have been or are in danger of being reduced or eliminated.
In that regard, our board of trustees felt compelled to research the possibility of putting a mill levy on the ballot this year. We would like to gather information from the community in order to start a dialogue.
After our research is complete, we look forward to sharing and discussing our findings with the school board. If there is a decision to move forward with a ballot initiative, then we would not be the entity to manage campaign efforts. At the moment, we are only hoping to inquire as to the desire and viability in order to have a discussion.
Thank you for taking five-10 minutes to respond to our survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Efec. Results are tabulated 100 percent anonymously.
Education Foundation of Eagle County Board of Trustees
After reading Terry Quinn’s last letter (“Arming teachers”), it seems that his and my disagreement has shrunk over whether it is a good idea to arm teachers and other school staff members to deter armed shooters in our schools. Henry Bornstein’s recent letter (“Critics can’t take me on directly”) highlights data that suggest that armed guards in banks have not discouraged bank robbers, which I would argue are not as delusional or as mentally deranged as the killers at Columbine, Phoenix, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook and other examples of mass killings.
Whereas bank robbers go through some evaluation of risk and strategies to neutralize armed bank guards, the mass killers act on unknown motives (unlike money) and show no fear of their own demise. At least some are very willing to commit suicide and I doubt that any of them set out on their quest with a fear of their own deaths.
Put simply, the hypothesis that having some teachers or other staff armed will deter a deranged killer is nothing more than a nice illusion.
Quinn also challenges the question of whether school staff should be paid higher salaries (other than reimbursement for gun training classes and other readiness activities) for absorbing the responsibility of using a gun to kill or disable a shooter. The example he cites involved several school staff neutralizing a shooter without the benefit of any of them having a weapon.
His acknowledgment of their bravery is certainly warranted. However, there is a difference between the spontaneous actions of individuals with inherently good intentions and the heavy weight of knowing that you have the responsibility of putting down a shooter in your school.
You do what you need to do, but that doesn’t make it easy. I have never killed anyone, but I have run countless vignettes in my head of how, when and where someone might try to break into my home and harm my family. It is not a fun exercise, but it prepares you for an event you hope will never happen.
Lastly Quinn, you can’t equate the responsibility I am describing with CPR or fire safety training. That is just silly. I was CPR certified for many years (not now) and still keep up with changes in CPR protocols. In administering CPR you are trying to save a life by strictly following a physical protocol in which there is no moral element. Arming school staff to take a life to save lives, and putting their own lives at stake in the process, carries considerably more training, judgment and introspection of self than anything else we currently ask of our teachers. And, that should be sufficiently compensated if we go there. I personally hope we don’t.