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By Rick Monroe
Special to the Village News 

Resolution supporting safe gun storage denied by elementary school board

 

Last updated 6/24/2021 at 12:02pm



Trustees of the Fallbrook Union Elementary Board considered passing a resolution supporting safe gun storage at its June 7 meeting. However, after a brief board discussion, FUESD Board President Caron Lieber said she didn’t feel it was a board concern and suggested it be tabled.

Still, board member Susan Liebes made a motion to support the resolution and it was seconded by board member Ricardo Favela. The motion did not carry, with Liebes the only one voting yes.

Lieber and Suzanne Lundin voted no, and Favela abstained. Board member JoAnn Lopez did not attend the meeting.

Lieber recommended the gun safety proposal be an agenda item for the district’s Safety Committee, but the board did not vote in that direction.

The staff report stated that school safety continues to be one of the board’s highest priorities, citing that school shootings have become an all-too-frequent occurrence in America. From 2012, the year of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School which claimed the lives of 20 first graders, through 2021, there have been 652 shootings at K-12 schools in the United States.

In that time, more than 350 people were shot and 120 have died.

The report also noted that unsecured guns pose a special risk to children, who as young as three years old are strong enough to pull a trigger. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that from 1999 through 2017 (the most recent year available), an average of 65 children less than 15 years of age were unintentionally shot and killed each year in the U.S.

In California, from 1999 through 2017, an average of 27 children under the age of 18 have died each year by suicide with a gun. Most often the gun used in youth suicide belongs to a parent or family member.

Also, nearly 70% of student shooters gained access to a lawfully purchased gun from their residence or the residence of a relative; 87% of kids know where their parents’ guns are kept; 60% have handled them; over 80% of teens who commit suicide with a gun used one that belonged to someone in their home; and guns are the third leading cause of death for kids.

The proposed resolution said the district is committed to maximizing school safety by developing Comprehensive School Safety Plans at every school; creating Positive Behavior Intervention and Support teams; employing full-time school counselors and school psychologists, and integrating emergency, crisis and threat assessment teams to ensure a safe school environment at every school site; creating an Executive Safety Committee to review district safety protocol compliance and implement school safety-related best practices.

While more than 28% of adults in California possess a firearm, and state and local law criminalizes unsafe storage of firearms where minors may be present, and gun retailers are required to post flyers that set forth safe storage requirements, there are no dedicated resources for educating adults about safe storage of firearms.

Had the resolution passed, it would have directed the superintendent to create an appropriate letter to parents and guardians that explained the importance of safe gun storage and the legal obligations to protect minors from negligent gun storage, to be included in annual registration materials.

 

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