Failures in Hiring, Training and Supervision of SROs Lead to Government Liabilities

I recently wrote a piece on the school board meeting in Brevard County in Florida. Why Are School Boards Putting More Guns In Schools? One of the speakers, Connie Rookie, a military law enforcement vet, sent me a copy of this article from the National Association of School Resource Officers, NASRO. “Arming School Personnel, School Safety Reform and Liability. from 2015.

I’ve contacted the author, Professor Bernard James to do a follow-up on legal liabilities issues in the state of Florida.

He also has a School Safety Law Blog  and a list of his articles on Legal Updates at NASRO  I specifically want to point out the piece, “Government Liability and the failure to train? I’m especially interested to see if this 2009 study referenced was updated.

“None of the SROs interviewed in a 2009 study  “received[d] training in mediation, basic de-escalation techniques, or in detecting symptoms and behaviors of youths who have been exposed to violence, trauma, or abuse” and “rarely had any formal knowledge of, or training in, adolescent psychology or development, how to secure the respect and cooperation of youths, or on the behavioral precautions and protections that need to be taken with youths [who have] Individual Education Plans (IEPS) “As a result, SROs may not be properly equipped for their varied responsibilities.”

Many states are looking to hire more SROs quickly, I believe they will want to know what to expect from a well-trained SROs, as well as what liabilities they face if they put people in place without appropriate training.

I’m not a lawyer, but the other comment from that article that struck me was this one:

” A single act by the SRO can lead to government liability without the student victim establishing a pattern of any kind.” 

The school board and town hall meetings that I have watched have not addressed the potential for government liability coming from “shortcomings in hiring,training and supervision of SROs.” Many are under the impression that SROs are exempt from liability claims and/or the law enforcement insurance will cover any claims.  I think it is important to alert the school districts and communities to these issues.

How Do Responsible Gun Owners Confiscate Guns from Mental Ill Friends and Relatives?

The NRA will want to make the Waffle House shooting about mental illness, but is also about how to restrict, remove or confiscate guns from people who might be a threat to themselves or others.  In 2012 I wrote this piece asking the question, “Dear Tim: I’m worried my gun-carrying son will hurt others, how do I get his concealed weapons permit revoked?”

What if your gun carrying friend or son is losing it and you are afraid for his life or the life of others. What do you do? What can you do? Let’s say he legally owns guns and has a legal concealed carry permit. He hasn’t been judged mentally ill by a judge, but he is clearly dangerous. What if your state doesn’t have a gun violence restraining law?

Recent laws in California give people a way to keep guns out of the hands of people in this situation.  Illinois, where Travis Reinking is from, recently passed a Violence Order of Protection Act, but state representatives are rewriting the bill and renaming it the Firearm Restraining Order.   Back in 2012 I asked responsible gun owners, “How would you handle this? The disturbed person is more . . . → Read More: How Do Responsible Gun Owners Confiscate Guns from Mental Ill Friends and Relatives?

Why Are School Boards Putting More Guns In Schools?

I spent 8 hours watching and re-watching a Florida school board meeting.  I saw a group of smart, articulate women, and a few men, create strong cases against the proposal to arm teachers and staff.  They provided excellent information and examples of the problems when you bring guns into schools on a permanent basis.

Brevard County School Board appears to be dedicated to a controversial program to arm school staff, despite calls from the superintendent and sheriff to focus their efforts elsewhere and despite droves of residents who have been protesting the program. Tim Shortt / FLORIDA TODAY

I was especially pleased to see them bring up the issue of negligence with guns, liability and ongoing cost of insurance. Especially concerning for school districts is the huge financial risk because of Monell liability.  These were questions the board was unable to answer.  (Video link of the Brevard County school board expressing their confusion around liability, insurance, and asking questions about costs.)

Then I watched some people, who had just explained all the serious problems with guns in schools, come out in support of guns in schools. What the what? In this case these guns would be in the hands of police officers, called . . . → Read More: Why Are School Boards Putting More Guns In Schools?

Parkland Teacher’s Gun Accident Raises Questions for School Boards

Yesterday a Stoneman Douglas teacher left a loaded gun in a public restroom.  A drunk, homeless guy found it and fired it. Luckily nobody was hurt, but “they found a casing in a corner of the bathroom and later found a projectile also in the bathroom.”

Stoneman Douglas teacher Sean Simpson, left his gun in a bathroom

The teacher, Sean Simpson, was arrested and “charged with failing to safely store a firearm, a second-degree misdemeanor.”

The homeless guy, Joseph Spataro, 69, was charged with trespassing and firing a weapon while intoxicated.

This is an important story because it raises questions about who pays for the damage caused when there is an accident involving a gun that was legally carried into a public building, business, church or school that chose to allow the gun inside.

I’m sure someone will dismiss this incident because “technically it didn’t happen in a school.” But incidents just like this happen all the time, there is even a “guns in bathrooms” tumblr page.  With more guns, and new concealed carriers, more of these type of incidents will happen in schools.  However, no gun, no gun accident. But for the gun, there would be no gun left in . . . → Read More: Parkland Teacher’s Gun Accident Raises Questions for School Boards

Protected: Women Brandishing Posters Protest Gun-Lobbyist Cox

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

What Are The Costs and Consequences of Metal Detectors in Schools?

Schools districts across the country are having town hall meetings to discuss school safety.  A number of solutions will be proposed. Unfortunately, sometimes the people with faulty solutions are great at selling them and getting funding for them. When people are afraid, they often write big checks to the people who claim to offer a solution. Remember those nude X-ray scanners that were put in at airports? They didn’t work. Scientists: Body Scanners Don’t Work, Corbett Was Right   Did you know that the Department of Homeland Security chief, Michael Chertoff, promoted the technology and Homeland Security placed the government’s first order, buying five Rapiscan scanners? Eventually the government bought over 300 of the machines that didn’t work.

One of the suggestions people will make in these Town Halls will be for metal detectors. Lincoln Journal Star education reporter Margaret Reist asked Jon Sundermeier, Lincoln Public School Security Coordinator this question during podcast about security for Lincoln Public schools. “There is a lot of talk about metal detectors. Do we need metal detectors? Why do we not have metal detectors?”

Jon Sundermeier, LPS Security Coordinator

“Again, that’s another community decision. If you think about when you visit the Lancaster County courthouse, if you look at the staff there, . . . → Read More: What Are The Costs and Consequences of Metal Detectors in Schools?

Lawmakers Determined To Get Guns In Schools

Right now the NRA and their supporters are using the Parkland shooting as an opportunity to get multiple people carrying guns into schools all around the country. I’ve been watching legislative sessions and Town Halls in Kansas, Tennessee and Florida where lawmakers are voting to create and fund armed teachers programs.

Here is Republican Randy Fine during a Town Hall on March 28th sponsored by Florida Today   First he said that in his meeting with 12 Parkland students, they didn’t ask about gun control. Then, “What I’ve heard is you like more guns in schools. You just want them to be SROs.”

The NRA strategy in Florida (and other states) is to go to lawmakers who are in charge of school safety and say, “Fund the programs that put people with guns in and around schools.” Then that money gives the NRA lawmakers financial leverage over school safety programs. The money goes to NRA approved training programs in schools and programs to train teachers to use guns.

I’ve watched education resources in Tennessee and Florida get carved up for programs putting guns in schools.  When people asked to move that training money to a totally different areas that didn’t involve guns,  they found . . . → Read More: Lawmakers Determined To Get Guns In Schools

How NRA is Making Armed Teachers A Reality In Kansas

In my piece Let’s Stop The Armed Teachers Plans In Florida And Other States, I mentioned how in Kansas in 2013, the sole insurance provider for public schools, EMC, said it would not insure any school that armed teachers.

Other insurance carriers may have come forward at the time to provide insurance for these armed teachers, but their rates would have been higher, because of the greater liability risks.  The combination of no insurance, or very expensive insurance, stopped armed teachers from being placed in public schools back in 2013.

NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action saw this insurance roadblock and developed a plan. Someone suggested to lawmakers in Kansas that they insert an amendment in a bill that says “Insurance companies can’t refuse to provide a policy to a school district with armed teachers.”

Next, they added a passage that says the insurance company cannot charge unfair discriminatory premiums, policy fees or rates. This is an attempt force the insurance carriers to eat the cost of the  higher premiums necessary to cover the additional risk of gun accidents.

The NRA’s strength isn’t just money, it’s also their legislative strategy and politically active base.  I only found out about this hearing on . . . → Read More: How NRA is Making Armed Teachers A Reality In Kansas

What are Pro-Gun Parents Afraid Of?

Yesterday  I talked about pro-gun parents triggered by the March 14 Student Walkout. What I didn’t include was this interesting point:

“In an email sent to Breitbart News, the parents – who wish to remain anonymous – argue the student walkout might appear to be a fairly innocuous First Amendment event to honor the students killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting and to advocate for gun control.”

A group of parents hired an attorney as a front person so they could remain anonymous. What a great idea! With a lawyer as your “mouthpiece” the parents can hide their political connections and financial backing. If nobody knows who they are, they can avoid personal and/or professional shunning.

I totally understand why the parents wanted to remain anonymous. Some of their fears of consequences are valid, others are projections of their fear that the left will attack people just like the right. I’ve seen the NRA facilitate a national attack. Slaughter lobby supporters went after gun-control advocates by doxxing them and then carrying out legal, professional, financial and physical threats.

Below is from the comments section at Breitbart. Notice how they assume that the left will attack them and how they will attack.  Yes. I . . . → Read More: What are Pro-Gun Parents Afraid Of?

Pro-Gun Parents Triggered by Walkout, Sue For Equal Time

From the unprofitable Breitbart site, Big Government.

“A group of parents from New Milford, Connecticut has hired an attorney to articulate their concerns about the decision by their school district to allow students to participate in the national student walkout held Wednesday to advocate for gun control.”

I spent years learning how the right-wing mind works, so I knew this was coming. This is what they are saying:

“It’s not fair that the kids get to have an anti-gun walkout! What about pro-gun kids? If you don’t provide equal time we will sue.”

Since I’m from the future, I can tell you that there will be more of this.

Gun loving parents have already been contacting schools complaining about the walkout on the 14th.  Sadly, it’s working.  For example, students who don’t want to participate in a rescheduled walkout at Romeoville High School will be given 30 minutes free time. (Why did it have to be rescheduled? A student sent out a photo of himself holding a gun saying, “yo it ain’t safe to go to school tmrrw” Also, armed protesters.)

In the letter, made available as well to Breitbart News, Smith and Shugrue wrote that the district’s middle school students . . . → Read More: Pro-Gun Parents Triggered by Walkout, Sue For Equal Time