When contacted after the meeting, Ms. Honda said the comments attributed to her were merely hypothetical questions she had asked. "I would never arm teachers," Ms. Honda said.
Even if board members did want teachers to carry guns, state law would have to be changed first. Under California's Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995, only law enforcement officers and trained security guards may have guns on the campus of any public or private school; the law has very limited exceptions. That law was not mentioned at the school board meeting, officials who were there say, which may have amplified what they characterize as a misunderstanding.
The Las Lomitas board had two agenda items prompted by the recent Parkland, Florida, school shooting. The agenda of the March 14 board meeting, which was held the day students nationwide staged anti-gun violence walkouts, included a discussion of school safety and the wording of a resolution the board might pass honoring those killed in Parkland and encouraging safer schools.
Ms. Honda said the confusion began when the two sample resolutions were brought up and board member John Earnhardt proposed that their resolution should say that guns should never be allowed on campus.
Because neither sample resolution before the board had such a statement, Ms. Honda, an attorney, says she asked a series of hypothetical questions. She told The Almanac that she asked: "What are you suggesting?" Would Mr. Earnhardt consider having an armed guard on campus if the district had received "a credible threat?" Would a teacher who was retired from law enforcement and had a permit to carry a concealed weapon be allowed to do so on campus?
"The only opinion I expressed was: I would never put a gun in the hand of someone who didn't want it, and I would never put a gun in the hand of a teacher," she told The Almanac.
Superintendent Lisa Cesario said that while the resolution will not be voted on until the next board meeting, board members reached a consensus that they "would like to make a statement to honor the Parkland shooting victims and in support of greater measures to promote school safety."
The resolution Ms. Cesario said the board will consider at its next meeting contains the statement: "Arming school staff is not an effective solution for ending gun violence on school campuses."
Ms. Honda said she supports that sentiment. "I don't think you arm school staff," she said.
School board President John Earnhardt confirmed that while "there were some hypotheticals that were discussed" at the meeting, "no one on the board advocated arming teachers."
The school boards in the Menlo Park City School District and the Portola Valley School District have recently passed similar resolutions honoring the Parkland victims. The Menlo Park district resolution also stresses the importance of mental health services and both emphasize school safety.
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