OUR VIEW: More must be done to keep firearms out of schools

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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ne week into school, the Troup County School System has already dealt with a situation where a loaded gun was found in a student’s purse and a firearm was found in a custodian’s car.

The situations are very different, at least based on the details we have so far. The student apparently had a handgun in her purse at LaGrange High School. Although the school system and LaGrange Police Department have said there’s no evidence the student planned to use the gun, it’s terrifying to know that a firearm was in a high school.

How and why does a 17-year-old even have a gun? And how and why would that gun end up in a school setting, especially given the nation’s recent history with gun violence in schools?

The second incident seems to follow along directly with Georgia law.  You simply cannot carry a weapon in a school zone in Georgia. This arrest serves as a good reminder of that law.

Unfortunately, the incident discussed earlier aren’t isolated. In April, a 16-year-old was arrested for having a gun at LaGrange High. In May, a 16-year-old had a gun at the Troup County Career Center. There are more examples too.

The Ulvade, Texas shooting is fresh in all of our memories, and although that feels like something that could never happen here, it’s just not true.

We don’t say that to cause alarm — we simply just mean that we must change our mindset. It’s human nature to think “that could never happen to me/us” or “it wouldn’t happen where I live.”

The LaGrange Police Department and Troup County Sheriff’s Office have been proactive in preparing for active shooter events in our community, specifically in schools. They’ve also taken all of these incidents with guns in schools over the last few years very seriously, which we hope will serve as a deterrent.

At Monday night’s school board work session, there was a discussion on the possibility of buying metal detectors, a move we think would be a positive, though there’s a lot of logistics to work out. (Look for a follow up story with more details).

We also know it’s easy to say that we should do more. It’s easy to say that a gun in a school building should be a wake-up call. Neither are actual solutions.

We also know that spending more on safety means figuring out where that money is coming from, whether it’s metal detectors or some other solution.

No one in our country has seemingly figured out the best way to keep students safe while not turning our schools into prisons. It’s not a Troup County problem — it’s a nationwide problem.

However, our local leaders have to figure out a solution that works here, one that keeps students safe and keeps guns out of our school buildings.