Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a growing presence in Arkansas, will take its message about safer gun policy to a meeting today of the state Board of Education.
They will appear at the public comment session to ask for a spot on a future state Board agenda.
They think studies on school safety should include parents and students (noticeably lacking on Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s recently appointed school task force) and that it also should be comprehensive. That is, it should include gun safety and evidence-based research. Hutchinson made it clear he did NOT want his group to consider gun safety as part of its mission.
Turning schools into fortresses is not a comprehensive approach to safety. Moms may not get anywhere with a board now dominated by Asa Hutchinson appointees, but it can’t hurt to speak up.
Moms Demand Action now has 10 chapters statewide and the meetings are drawing good crowds — about 100 at a meeting in Little Rock this week.
Good timing. Austin Bailey, the Little Rock group leader of Moms Demand Action, has a guest column in this week’s Arkansas Times. She concludes:
… evidence-based measures like universal background checks and red flag laws that allow law enforcement to temporarily keep guns from people displaying threatening behavior are proven solutions that could save an untold number of lives. By refusing to even consider these fixes, Hutchinson indicates he’d rather hunker down and react to mass shootings than do what needs to be done to stop them from happening in the first place.
Worried parents are contemplating homeschooling should we opt to turn our public schools into armed fortresses. Many great teachers are saying they cannot do the job of teaching and SWAT-teaming at the same time, and that after a career of being insulted and discounted, this could be the last straw. In a state where public education has been embattled for years, where parents have had to fight to keep entire districts from being charterized, and where now the state is subsidizing private and parochial schools with 529 plan tax exemptions for K-12 tuition, keeping public schools healthy and thriving is not a priority. In fact, a mass exodus of teachers and students fleeing guns in their classrooms might be just what Arkansas politicians have in mind.
Want specifics? Here are some ideas the Moms might give to state Board.