Monday, April 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: More guns in schools isn't the answer

The answer to gun violence in schools is not more guns in schools. But that's the wrongheaded approach some officials are taking in Tallahassee and Hillsborough County, proposing to put armed guards in elementary schools and assigning teachers to carry concealed weapons on the campuses. These are risky, costly, knee-jerk reactions that only put more innocents in harm's way.

The education subcommittee of the Florida House approved a bill this week that would allow school principals to designate an employee to carry a concealed weapon on the campus. While principals would decide whether to appoint an armed staffer, minimally trained employees at public and private schools could roam around packing heat while carrying out their usual work routines.

The bill, HB 1097, sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has met with resistance from parents, school boards and the teachers' union — for all the right reasons. It could bring a flood of firearms onto campuses, without any protocol for bringing the one armed staff member — or the six, or 15 or 30, or however many the principal appoints — under any form of central control. And firearms that are inevitably lost or stolen present a new threat to students and the general public.

A security consultant hired by the Hillsborough County School Board also recommended that the county hire armed guards for elementary schools. Sheriff's deputies and police already staff middle schools and high schools; the argument here is that armed guards at elementary campuses would address threats ranging from a potential shooter to an irate parent.

The school district doesn't need armed guards to referee the problem parent who routinely comes to the door. That would be heavy-handed, and there is no safety gap between schools. There are fundamental differences in the security issues at middle and high schools that distinguish them from elementary schools.

The district has better uses for the $4 million it would cost every year to put armed guards in elementary schools. If it wants to spend that money on security, it should explore broad-based solutions in partnership with a task force Hillsborough County is forming to examine a comprehensive approach to gun violence. More outreach and counseling to at-risk populations, hardening of the school campuses and new controls on the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines offer a greater return and more lasting parental comfort.

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Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
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Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

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Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

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Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18