Armed school guards debated for Vancouver

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by KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 12:55 PM

VANCOUVER – People on both sides of the gun control debate spoke out at a Vancouver Public Schools meeting Tuesday night.

Earlier this month, a group of citizens called on the school board to change its policy allowing teachers to arm themselves. District officials said that policy would violate state law.

Gun advocates also want volunteer armed guards to patrol campus. Nearby Ridgefield School District last week hired armed security to patrol its campuses.

Related: Ridgefield school adds armed guards

Gun control proponents said they fear arming teachers or having armed security guards is counterproductive, and it sends the wrong message.

Parent Heidi Yewman will be among those addressing the school board; she said gun advocates have gone too far.

"It creates an atmosphere of fear,” she said “Little elementary kids should be walking into schools and feeling like this is a safe, wonderful place to be.”

Lynda Wilson supports the idea of armed security guards in the schools.

“It is kind of like wearing a seat belt,” she said. “You don't know when an accident is going to happen, so you defend yourself all the time."

The superintendent recently sent a letter to parents of Vancouver students, explaining that the district already spends nearly $2 million annually for security measures. The board feels confident that the city’s schools are safe.

The topic was discussed at the meeting, but the school district did not issue a reply because there was no formal proposal on the table.

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KGW Reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report.

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