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Readers ask about Lawrence school security


Last week's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is understandably raising questions and concerns among parents in Lawrence and every other school district in America. "Are my children safe?" many want to know. "Would the staff at my child's school know what to do if something like that happened here?"

Here at the Journal-World, we've received many emails and phone calls asking those questions. And they were the first question we asked Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll on Friday shortly after we heard the news of what had happened in Connecticut.

The short answer, according to Doll, is yes. The Lawrence school district does have emergency procedures in place, and they train on those procedures every year.

The logical follow-up question, however, gets a little more complicated. If you want to know exactly what those procedures are, or what kind of training is involved, school officials are reluctant to discuss that, especially for publication in a newspaper or local news website.

The last thing anyone wants is to make our schools more vulnerable. Publishing details of a school's security plans could have the unintended effect of exposing the system's weaknesses or vulnerabilities. That would be irresponsible.

Parents who are concerned about their children's safety certainly have a right to discuss those concerns personally with their school principals and classroom teachers.

That's probably little comfort to anyone who was shaken to the bone by the horror of last week's tragedy, which is to say all of us. It's the kind of event that shatters one's sense of personal security. There is no quick and easy way to build that sense of security back up.

One way that can help, though, is communication. Parents, schools and the community at large all need to work together to protect the safety of our children. And we all need to reassure our children that their safety is our top priority.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

The NRA Surge: 99 Laws Rolling Back Gun Restrictions

Kansas now allows guns inside K-12 schools—one of a barrage of looser state laws passed in the last four years. —Mark Follman, Tasneem Raja, and Ben Breedlove

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Since 2009, the NRA and its allies in state capitols have pushed through 99 laws making guns easier to own, easier to carry in public—eight states now even allow them in bars—and harder for the government to track.

More than two-thirds of the laws were passed by Republican-controlled legislatures, though often with bipartisan support. (Note: Click on the colored states for details on additional laws; info on a few particularly noteworthy ones follows below the map.

Also see our related story on the frightening rise of mass shootings in the US.) 99 Laws Rolling Back Gun Restrictions, 2009-2012


Some particularly noteworthy laws.

Bullets and booze: In Missouri, law-abiding citizens can carry a gun while intoxicated and even fire it if "acting in self-defense."

Child-safety lock off: In Kansas, permit holders can carry concealed weapons inside K-12 schools and at school-sponsored activities.

Short arm of the law: In Utah, a person under felony indictment can buy a gun, and a person charged with a violent crime may be able to retain a concealed weapon permit. Nebraskans who've pled guilty to a violent crime can get a permit to carry a gun. Sweet Jesus! In Louisiana, permit holders can carry concealed weapons inside houses of worship.

Without a trace: Virginia not only repealed a law requiring handgun vendors to submit sales records, but the state also ordered the destruction of all such previous records. For more, see our related investigation on the rise of guns and mass shootings in America.

Sources: The majority of the data used for this map is from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, with additional research by Mother Jones. You can get further details about the laws, by year, on LCPGV's site: 2009-10, 2011, and 2012.

Additional research contributed by Deanna Pan and Gavin Aronsen.


beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

If the safety of our children is truly our top priority, then we will no longer stand aside and do nothing when legislators make drastic cuts to aid for people with mental illnesses.

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