Leaders clash over guns banned from schools

Mary Helen Barro, democratic congressional candidate, says guns in schools make them less safe. May 18, 2018. KBAK/KBFX)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Even though state law forbids teachers and staff from carrying guns at school, the ban has come under fire in Kern County in light of Friday's Santa Fe High School shooting.

After Parkland, Kern schools walked out in solidarity, saying enough was enough, and called for Congress to take action.

Today, no stand, but a tweet from Congressman Kevin McCarthy:

"Our hearts go out to the victims of the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas. And to the survivors and first responders: Know that America is with you. This nation will not be divided by cowardly acts of violence."

Mike Williams, a Kern High School District Trustee, blasted the ban of guns on school grounds in a Facebook post this afternoon.

Williams called for more armed security on school campuses,s saying without guns, all schools are targets.

But community advocates disagree.

"Studies show students are going to be put at risk as a result of unintentional shootings, and the teachers who are carrying arms or any civilians are not going to be suited to deal with an active shooter scenario,"Gerald Cantu, education policy director for the Dolores Huerta Foundation, said.

In 2016 Kern High School District voted 3-2 to allow teachers to carry guns at school, with proper concealed-carry permits and the superintendent's permission.

A year later, governor Brown passed a bill banning teachers and administrators from carrying guns, forcing Kern to follow suit.

Democratic congressional candidate Mary Helen Barro wants to see more counseling and anger-management assistance in schools, not guns.

Having guns in the classroom, it's ludicrous, we need to focus on learning in the classroom, respect in the classroom."

Beginning in June, the Safer Schools Coalition of Kern will begin holding regular meetings. SSCK, a think-tank bringing school officials and community partners together to discuss safety in schools, bares similarity to the 2013 School Threat Assessment Task Force created after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

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