Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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.

Comments
Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17