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My Turn: School 'lockdown' drills a call to action for Juneau parents

Posted: January 15, 2013 - 1:00am

This past week, my 9-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son experienced a “lockdown” drill. When the kids heard the announcement “Code Red,” everyone ran to a pre-determined hiding place. According to my daughter, everyone needs to practice hiding behind coats and being quiet in case there’s a person with a gun in the school looking for them.

Is this disturbing to anyone else out there? When I was a kid, we had fire drills and an occasionally earthquake drill, but we didn’t have to practice hiding out from armed and dangerous roaming gunmen.

And then, two days after lockdown at the neighborhood school, I read the headline that an Alaskan legislator is proposing a bill that would allow teachers to arm themselves at school.

Responding to increasing violence by arming teachers — what’s next? Permits for children to carry weapons? What is going on?!

While I support people’s rights to have guns for hunting, our society has devolved to a low point if we are advocating for teachers to arm themselves.

On the same day as the shooting in Connecticut, there was a similar attack at a school in China. A man wielding an ax attacked students and teachers at a local school. More than 20 students were injured before the man was overtaken by teachers using brooms to defend themselves.

No one died that day at that school in China. The only difference between the two attacks? There was no gun involved. China has strict gun control laws.

The U.S. may be no more or less violent than other nations but we are providing wider access to lethal weapons on a much greater scale.

The message from the NRA is that more guns is the solution (arm teachers!). But the U.S. already has more guns per capita than any other country in the world; and a much higher murder rate to show for it. More guns has not been the answer.

I call on all mothers and fathers — take action! More guns will not create a more peaceful future for our children. Americans need to take a serious approach to controlling guns, for our children’s sake.

• Champney is a 20-year resident of Juneau. She and her husband have three children — two attend Harborview and one attends Dzantik’i Heeni.

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