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Thoughts on Gunn incident & teaching good judgement
Original post made
by Bru, Crescent Park,
on May 28, 2010
I think the question asked in another forum of what should the Gunn student with the airgun in his car have done is a very good one, and a discussion and exploration of that would be very benficial for everyone.
To me it is a bit like what do you do if you are about to miss your exit while you are driving. Some people swerve in traffic at the last minute in front of others, or some even stop and back up on the freeway to not miss their exit and actually put people's lives at risk because they do not think and exercise good judgement. For me, I just miss my exit and turn around at the next exit, and it makes me irate to see people risking other people's lives to save a minute or two of driving. We have a colossal failure or misunderstanding of what constitutes good judgement, and whether good judgement is just an optional suggestion or not in this country.
For this kid, why not immediately get in your car and drive home and deposit the gun off-campus? Yes, you might be late for class, but the problem has already happened? Not only is it illegal to bring a weapon on campus, but it is also illegal to drive with one in your car where you can reach it. What should he have done?
Maybe the police could give us an answer as to the best alternative for this - I'm just guessing or trying to think what I would do. I just would not let myself get into this situation to begin with. Is it too much to expect people to mindful of what they are doing at all times?
Any other thoughts on this?
Posted by mjm
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 30, 2010 at 3:59 pm
Code Red is only announced if an active shooter is on campus. In this case, the sighting of the "gun", and reports of gunfire in the Los Robles area (behind Gunn) were enough for the police to take the threat seriously and call the code red--it is the police dept who calls the code. The school district practices for Code Red situations: Web Link
Andreas, Each School district develops policies to adhere to and implement saftey plans set by law. Your web link was the implementation by the UC system for Colleges and Universities. This does not deal with implementation at K-12 schools. These regulations are spelled out in the schools handbooks which are given to parents and students.
From the time our kids start school, they are taught not to bring toy weapons to school. The most common time is at Haloween when toy props have to be left at home. Starting in Middle School, the students have to sign a form (before they can officially start the school year) that they have read, understood, and agreed to the rules in the Student Handbook. Here are excerpts from Terman , JLS and Gunn on toy weapons. It is pretty clear. No TOY weapons EVER.
From Terman Middle School Student Handbook:
"Items that are never allowed include:
* Matches, lighters, spray cans, laser pointers, drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, look-alike drugs or cigarettes, weapons and/or dangerous objects, such as poppers, imitation weapons and/or imitation dangerous objects, water balloons, squirt guns and other water toys."
JLS Middle School Handbook page 26:
"PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED ITEMS:
Weapons/dangerous items including: guns of any kind (play, water, cap, squirt, imitation firearms, toys that look like guns, BB guns, pellet guns) and knives of any kind including: locking, pocket of any size, switch blade, Swiss Army, steak etc. These items may be confiscated. Any weapons or illegal, dangerous items or substances brought to school will lead to immediate discipline and/or police action."
GUNN STUDENT HANDBOOK--page 23/24:
"Weapons/Dangerous Objects: Firearms, knives, explosives, fireworks, sharp objects, BB, Pellet or look-alike guns, paint ball guns or any other dangerous objects may not be brought onto campus. School actions include suspension, police notification and a recommendation for expulsion from the school district.
Inappropriate Objects: Objects that are not directly related to a classroom project or assignment and approved by a staff member are not permitted on the campus. This may include but is not limited to:
lighters, matches, sharp objects, laser pointers, noise makers, water balloons, squirt guns, paint balls,eggs, etc. The presence of inappropriate objects can create a disruption. A student who brings an object to the campus is responsible for the object brought onto the campus."
Gunn Teacher Handbook: page 31
"INAPPROPRIATE OR DANGEROUS OBJECTS
All staff members have an obligation to intervene if they witness an unsafe, dangerous or violent situation. Items that do not have direct and approved classroom application are prohibited on the campus at all times. Approved items, when misused present an unsafe situation for all. Professional judgement in regard to the safety and well-being of students prevails. Students who possess or misuse items should have the item(s) immediately confiscated. New laws and
Board Policy officially allow students to possess items like cell phones and pagers on the campus. While in class, cell phones and pagers are to be turned off and out of sight. These objects are not allowed to interfere or detract with instruction and learning at any time.
Other examples of inappropriate items include, but are not limited to, lighter and matches, knives, razor blades, sharp objects, dangerous or explosive items, laser pointers, paint balls, firearms or imitation firearms, squirt guns, water balloons, markers (when not for specific class project), drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, vulgar or obscene objects, and items representing/depicting a crime, violence or drug/alcohol use."
Even if the items are in the trunk of the car, it is still considered on campus. So the rule is the inappropriate items should ALWAYS be left at home. To be honest, my kids never really read the handbook, but signed the paper anyway. But I did read it and I went over the important itmes with them--shortened down the 40+ pages to key elements.
"But, if the students are telling the truth, then some were ordered back into school buildings *at gunpoint*. I want to know if that is true or not. I consider that significant information."
I was in a car at the gym at 2:00 (reading) waiting to pick up my kid and saw the whole thing unfold. Kids started coming out of class and police were suddenly there, ordering (all police seem to use a certain loud voice and low pitch to be heard and obeyed without question--think Jack Bauer without the attitude) all kids inside buildings. Some police had weapons out--automatic rifles pointing down and slung across their chest. I did not see any handguns drawn. One kid came out of the gym and was immediately ordered to get back inside (and the cop had to yell a second time "I said get inside") As the doors were all locked, the kid was escorted back to a "safe" location (under armed protection) while the assistant principal who was working a sweep with the police unlocked a door for the student to get back inside. I can see where kids would freak at this behavior, but in no case did I see police point a gun at a kid or threaten--though they did shout very loudly. They spent a long time in the parking lot around a certain car and then went to back to the buildings (again with the assistant principal). Then they came over to the cars and told us we had to leave--they didn't want anyone other than police on campus--that's when I got concerned for my own safety. (I think that was when they got the incorrect report from a parent of a student being held at gunpoint).
In all, the police were very professional. Their job is to take every threat as real untill proven otherwise and they did a great job!
By the way, they called in Stanford, Mtn. View, and police from other towns--there must have been 15+ police cars on or around Gunn(Arastradero, Miranda), plus motorcycle patrol.