The safety of the children of Gonzales County is a serious discussion to have, especially with the uptick in school shootings. I don’t think I’m qualified in deciding whether or not someone — whether it’s an officer, an administrator or a teacher — should be armed on campus. I have a list of reasons why I’d personally be uneasy around those weapons, but how I feel shouldn’t really play into a factor.
What I do appreciate is the discussion.
If you haven’t read yet, go look at the front page article on Nixon-Smiley CISD and their Tuesday town hall meeting discussing whether they should arm teachers. NSCISD Superintendent Cathy Lauer set the rules as clear as she can, stating the meeting was not a place for debate or argument.
“The point was for our board to have input from the community,” she said.
And that is exactly how you go about making such a decision with these implications.
I want to commend everybody involved with the town hall, from the Nixon-Smiley Student Council to the administrators who helped moderate the discussion. I felt that anyone who wanted to use their voice was able to do so Tuesday night, without feeling like they weren’t heard, and that’s pretty important.
When I write a column on the Opinion page, I don’t expect to be agreed with 100 percent of the time. I do, however, want to be heard. That’s all I need, the reader to respect my position enough to try to understand what I’m saying.
I can honestly say, Tuesday night felt like everyone was respected.
Employees spoke up, parents spoke up, even high school athlete Faith Pullin took to the microphone, announcing to the room the anxiety she feels at the thought of a teacher being armed and something going terribly wrong.
She is much braver than me.
Speaking of bravery, I couldn’t make this quote fit in the story, but I believe what Scott Jones said Tuesday needs to be shared to everyone who wasn’t able to make the town hall meeting.
First, some context.
Hector Dominguez, a longtime Nixon community member as well as a Mustang alum talked about how he initially feared for the safety of his colleagues.
“I couldn’t live with one of my colleagues here in Nixon-Smiley being a person here carrying a gun and a Nixon police officer or a Gonzales County Sheriff’s Department killing them because they didn’t know if they were the good guy or the bad guy,” he said.
Dominguez did note that his opinion has changed, because of his research and visiting with teachers, students and anyone else involved in the decision-making process.
Then Jones, current head girls’ basketball coach and girls’ coordinator, spoke up after Dominguez.
“I have three kids at school,” Jones said. “The thought of a shooter coming into one of those schools and taking them out bothers me. I would like to know there was a capable teacher in that situation that can protect my kid. Going off of Hector’s comments a while ago about a teacher possibly getting taken out. If it meant — I’m ex-military, and I would be willing to assume that responsibility if it meant taking care of your kids and taking care of my kids. Do I want that? No I don’t want it. But I think it’s a necessity or it’s coming to that point in today’s society.”
I remember interviewing Jones when he first signed on as head girls’ basketball coach back in 2014. When he told me he was ex-military, I knew, being a military child myself, the sacrifices I’m sure he’s made to get to this point in his life. So it should come as no surprise to hear that Jones would be willing to do whatever it takes for the safety of not only his children, but the safety of every other Nixon-Smiley CISD student.
The point isn’t to blow smoke at any one person. It’s to show that Nixon-Smiley CISD is going about this decision-making process the right way.
This school district is a much better place with the bravery of its members. I hope that there never comes a day where their safety measures — whatever they decide that is — will be tested against a live incident. However, whatever decision they make, I am confident that it will be well thought out and rational.