MORE: Madison school board questions why anyone would object to arming staffers
Most — including school parent Erin Gabbard, who with the help of a national, anti-gun advocacy group has joined with some other parents in suing the district to stop the arming program — re-iterated their opposition to letting staffers have guns available to them in school.
“This lawsuit is not about money, it’s about safety,” Gabbard told the board and the more than 70 people at the meeting in the Madison Junior/Senior High School library.
“It’s insulting,” Gabbard said in characterizing the board’s recent statement, adding the implication by members is that those opposed to the district’s plan don’t care about school security.
“We want a comprehensive security plan to protect all of our kids,” she said, referring to alternative safety plans and programs including those that identify and help troubled students who may be prone to violence in schools.
She also said Madison’s plan does not meet state requirements for arming school employees.
Gabbard and four other parents with children in Madison Schools, are represented by attorneys from Columbus who work in conjunction with the New York City-based Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a national advocacy group opposed to gun violence.
Madison Twp. resident Pete Trensum said he likes the board’s plan to arm staffers and resents those outside the community trying to influence the school system’s policies.
“Why do we have these outside organizations funding money … and we have attorneys coming in here saying you can’t do this (arm staffers)” as some other school systems in Ohio — and nationwide — have chosen to do, said Trensum.
“They (anti-gun advocates) are here for their organization to make money or to get notoriety, they don’t care about these schools. We (local taxpayers) are funding these schools and so far we have paid for these things (arming staffers) to take place,” said Trensum.
“Why should my tax money go to fighting off (the lawsuit) against something that most of the community is in favor of,” he said of the expanded use of firearms in the schools.
When asked by the Journal-News, each of the Madison Board of Education members declined to comment about the district’s armed staffer program as did Madison Schools Superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff.