School board votes to take guns away from monitors

Armed for decades, the grounds monitors of a New York school district will no longer be allowed to have access to firearms.

The Saratoga Springs City School District Board voted last week 5-4 to disarm the group of school security employees, many of whom are former police officers, with the majority siding with advocates who argued firearms did not belong on campus.

“I want to stress,” said Superintendent Michael Patton, “that this vote does not imply that we don’t value or support a safe learning environment.”

The push to disarm the monitors was backed by Saratogians for Gun Safety, a local anti-gun group that has protested against area gun shows in years past.

“We are parents with children attending district schools and are just as concerned about our children’s safety as anyone else,” said Susan Steer, a co-founder of the group. “That said, having armed officers on school grounds does not make our children any safer as demonstrated by the fact that there was an armed school resource officer on campus during the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.”

The monitors, in addition to school resource officers provided by local law enforcement, helped protect the campus and many of the 14 such positions funded by the school district are part-time.

At least one parent supported keeping the monitors armed, as reported by the Daily Gazette.

“We have trained individuals, overly-qualified professionals who are willing to put their life on the line for our children,” said parent Michelle King. “How are they going to protect them if you don’t give them the tools to do it?”

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