Published DateTo the editor,
Earlier this week, I received a call from WMUR asking to my surprise if they could interview me concerning a school board meeting from February 21. It seems that someone by the name of S. Taylor who I do not know, sent them a personally text-edited You Tube tape of my denunciation of the current and pending school board policy of allowing concealed legal weapons such as AK-47s and Bushmasters on school property as long as they were secured out of sight in a vehicle by a non-student adult. (By the way according to the law it is okay to have the ammunition separate as in the non-students' pocket.) S. Taylor made this either on her own or with political advice, because the media (Baysider) was present at this same meeting and then wrote an extensive article about the meeting in the February 28th edition. Funny thing though, this event was never even mentioned because it was not particularly newsworthy. If a professional media representative does not deem this newsworthy then the only possible conclusion is that it was politically motivated. As Louie in "Casablanca" once said, "...time to gather up the usual suspects." The elementary school's policy also permits a weapon on school property as in the case of a non-student adult carrying a legal knife. I declined to comment for the story without first notifying the superintendent, which I did by e-mail. Not receiving a response, I got to watch it the next morning with everyone else.
I also witnessed Keith Dube who lost his election against me when he ran for school board and lost again after the recount derided my actions. Think he has an agenda? Mr. Ingoldsby, who no longer works for Alton Central School, criticized my actions after I fought him tooth and nail against out of sequence raises and additional custodial hirings. Think he has an agenda?
So what really happened? You can watch the text-edited You Tube version for entertainment, or if you are seriously concerned about our children's safety, the uncut unedited version on You Tube entitled "Alton School Board Public Hearing and Meeting February 21, 2013, part 2 of 2. Since I cannot lie or obfuscate because it is on tape, you will see and hear my arguments for a no tolerance elementary school weapons policy banning the ability to bring a concealed firearm and knife on not only school property, or within 1,000 feet of the school or on a school bus, or on a school field trip like stated in the "Gun Free School Zone Act". Is it too much to ask an adult to leave his gun at home when picking up their child, visiting the school, or watching a ball game? What possible reason is there to take your gun and or knife with you when visiting an elementary school? What extraordinary hardship would be created for any reasonable adult? You cannot have a gun at a federal building, library, airport or a college campus. Does it make sense to have a lower standard where our 3-year-old to 14-year-old children are most vulnerable? I guess it can't happen in Alton, it sure can't happen in Newtown, and it could never happen in Aurora.
Why then would we allow a knife? Is it because it can do less damage? Potential homicide or suicide is not okay, but maiming is? There are no constraints in the elementary school policy that says the knife must be folded, or that it must be in a case, or that it must be hidden from view. Only that it must be on the person of a non-student adult, which is anyone over 21 years of age. There is no mental capacity constraint, maturity constraint, or any other constraint. There is no size constraint, there is no design constraint, and there is no security constraint to touring the building including the pre-K areas with one. The reason is that New Hampshire is the only state without any knife laws unless you are a convicted felon. St Cyr, Noyes, and the most vocal, Argiropolis, are adamant in passing this policy 80 percent because they agree with it and 20 percent because I am opposed to it. With one more reading of the policy to go, I chose to use a prop to show how outrageous and ill-conceived this policy is. I showed an example of a pocket knife with a 3.5 inch blade that is legal to carry around in the elementary school including the music room where the school board was meeting. It is ridiculously wrong that I or anyone 21 years of age, can possess a knife in our elementary school. St.Cyr said the knife must be folded. I wish he was right, but not according to school policy. It can be a fixed blade and still be legal at the school. Argiropolis then said on tape at the meeting there probably are people in the audience with concealed firearms. She was probably right and it is absolutely wrong. I then asked the board if they were offended because I am. Only one person answered, Mrs. Argiropolis said, that she indeed was "not offended". Her justification to having a knife legally in an elementary school because firearms should be allowed is ludicrous and sophomoric at best. The policy allows a 21-year-old substitute teacher to have my kind of knife in his pocket all day. What could possibly go wrong? How about an immature assistant coach with my type of type of knife or a "legal" switchblade in his pocket? What could possibly go wrong?
I was willing to be dramatic in my presentation to put reasonable constraints on this policy. If all the talk going on about this policy, on TV, in the newspapers, and at the school changes peoples' minds about keeping our children safe, then I would gladly do it again and again.