Garden Valley discusses giving teachers guns for protection


by Andrea Lutz

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 11:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 5:02 AM

GARDEN VALLEY – Tuesday night the issue of guns on school property was before the Garden Valley School District during their monthly school board meeting.

District Chairman Alan Ward said putting guns in the hands of school staff is something he had been considering presenting to the public for some time.

However, for him, the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut are what pushed the matter to the forefront.

“In my opinion, we should consider having some weapons inside the district,” said Ward
If the district decids to approve this, Ward said the guns would be secured on school property and accessible only to a select number of teachers or staff.

“Four or five teachers or staff members who could be trained and feel comfortable in case we have an emergency,” he explained.

Garden Valley is tucked in the rural mountains of Boise County and Ward said the nearest law enforcement officers could be as much as 45 minutes away, at any time.

The school does not have a school resource officer, and it relies on volunteers from the fire department and the Crouch ambulance service when emergencies happen.

This idea could cut response time down to minutes instead of nearly an hour. 

The Garden Valley School District houses 230 students. With help that far away, Ward believes this could be a perfect plan for a district of its size. “Just to provide the safest environment we possibly can,” said Ward.

Tuesday, at the school board meeting, community members seemed to agree.

“I think it’s a good idea because of the distance our police officers are from the area,” said Mel Herald.

John Haworth, a teacher with Garden Valley stood in the back of the meeting room and gave a teacher’s perspective.

He lived in Detroit, and saw violence in schools first hand and believes metal detectors don’t work in schools.

He asked the district for the chance to be able to defend students. 

“There is a predator mentality and the thing is, the only thing that is going to stop a bad guy with a gun, is frankly, a good guy with a gun,” said Haworth.

While most seemed in support of this measure, the board knows there could be opposition.

“My response is to certainly listen to their reason and to try and understand it and to utilize their input, but the vote of the board that makes the decision,” said Ward.

This is all in its beginning stages, but the board still has a lot to consider, such as how much it would cost, where the guns would be stored and possibly seeking outside professional help to get staff trained and ready to use guns.

Ward said all those discussions will continue to happen in the next month, but they want to make a decision soon.