Teachers approved to carry guns

Dylan Bryant, Reporter

The Kern High School District passed a measure allowing staff with conceal & carry weapon permits to carry their firearms on campus last week. The measure passed 3-2. The session was held so that trustee Chad Vegas, who is scheduled to leave office in January, could vote on the matter before stepping down. His successor, Joey O’Connell, publicly opposes the policy.

Proponents of the measure argued this is a step towards making our campuses safer. Opponents, including the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Faith in the Valley Kern, argued not only that this brings gun culture into our classrooms, but that this will create legal problems for the district in the future. Mayor-elect of Arvin Jose Gurolla stated his opposition to the policy, and his disappointment with the decision to hold a special session for the measure.

Some pointed to the fact that we already have armed police and security on every campus. Many opponents vocalized their opposition to the fact that Vegas’ children do not attend public school.

A former law enforcement officer and educator, pointed to the district’s recent $20 million settlement with a student injured during a rally as evidence that the school’s liability for such a policy will cost taxpayers. He also suggested those seeking permission to carry weapons on campus during school hours should be trained and certified as reserve sheriff’s deputies in order to further ensure safety. He pointed out that such training would cost the district nothing and ensure firearm safety. His suggestions were not adopted.

In fact, no regulations or rules were passed; those will be developed in the months following. The board also recently passed a measure allowing parents and visitors to carry weapons on campus, and so far 13 people have applied for and received permission to do so.

The Kern High School District will be the largest school district in California to have this policy. Trustee Chad Vegas stated Tuesday he hopes this will “send a message to anyone who wishes to do harm that they will not be entering a gun-free zone.”

At the time of publication, Bakersfield College officials have not commented on whether or not the Kern Community College District is considering similar regulations.