Northwest NEWS

May 24, 1999


Bad pranks do not include bringing a gun to school

   The Woodinville Weekly reported on May 10, 1999 that Governor Gary Locke signed into law two "school safety bills" earlier this month. The first bill "requires a mandatory 72-hour detention and mental health evaluation for any young person who brings a gun onto school grounds.

   Duhhhhh. Do we really need legislation to determine that we need a mental evaluation for someone bringing a gun to school? State Sen. Rosemary McAulifee states, "I wanted to make sure that what might be a bad prank doesn't later turn into a violent disaster."

   As a student, I can assure her that a "bad prank" does not involve bringing a loaded gun to school. Also, I disagree with students being treated like criminals for bringing a toy water pistol to school. That is swinging too far in the other direction.

   I'm glad that there is an ongoing effort to make schools safe for students. I would like to see more inventive solutions instead of writing into law the obvious, common sense procedures that should already in place.

   I would also like to see things move faster in government. This bill was signed into law this month in response to the Springfield, Oregon school shooting, and we've had another shooting in Columbine High School since then. What will happen before a truly effective law can be enacted?

   The people who make the recommendations for new regulations for school safety need to ask teens what will help and listen carefully to their answers. I don't mean they should ask only the ASB "suck-ups," I mean everyone. I think they need to take an anonymous poll at every junior and senior high school in the nation and find some real solutions to what has become a real threat.

   In 1996, the Department of Justice Crime Prevention Funding programs spent $3.2 billion, and still we had the Oregon shooting, and still we had the tragic shooting in Colorado. Please ask us what will help and let us help ourselves.

Kyle Charvat, 15-year-old ninth grader, Timbercrest Junior High