Recently passed Illinois legislation now allows residents to legally carry a firearm, provided they obtain a concealed carry permit, but along with that change came a requirement for schools, churches, government agencies and liquor stores to post “no guns allowed” stickers at their entryways.
But the image on the stickers – a black gun with a red circle and line through it – have some school officials feeling uneasy, the Southtown Star reports.
“One of my biggest concerns as a principal is safety and security,” Tinley Park High School Principal Theresa Nolan said. “It is bothersome to have to post a sticker of a gun that says, ‘Hey, folks, leave your guns at home.’”
While Nolan, who has been with the school district for 22 years, isn’t opposed to having the signs on school property, she’s afraid that the image simply sends the wrong message and could be misinterpreted.
The signs have already gone up at numerous schools around the state, but that number is expected to increase in coming weeks.
“I think the general public will be alarmed by it and wonder if people have been allowed to bring guns to school in the past,” she said, adding, “I have no knowledge of guns ever being in this building.”
Nolan, and others, stated that they would have “appreciated something more subtle.” Something that didn’t have a gun on it.
Nolan says that the image is a constant reminder of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Tinley Park Associate Principal Randy Couwenhoven said that those who will be allowed to carry guns should already know better than to bring guns on school property anyway, but nonetheless the stickers are a necessary reminder.
“The intent of the stickers is to inform those with a concealed-carry license that they are not allowed to bring a gun into this location. It is a reminder to this particular audience, an audience that should already know this,” Couwenhoven said.
Yet while others still dislike the idea of the “no guns allowed” signs, they feel that the stickers will make the schools safer by keeping guns out.
“It is not necessarily something you’d want on a school building. But it correlates with the law, and I think if it ultimately helps to keep schools safe, that’s the objective,” District 123 Supt. Paul Enderle pointed out.
Supt. John Byrne agreed that the image, although “abrupt,” will send the right message, especially to students who will likely find the signs “less glaring” than adults.
“Kids are more aware of symbols and what they mean than older people might be,” Byrne said, adding that if the image “keeps the world safer, that’s okay. The No. 1 thing we do for kids in general is keep their school safe. We don’t want schools to become like airports but we should make some reasonable efforts. If it’s reasonable to tell people this is a safe, no-gun zone, then we’ll do it.”
Byrne also stated that the signs are “a sad editorial on humanity.”