As a matter of practice I send the weekly column to our web master for publication. I also send copies to Bob Gabordi and Isadora Rangel at Florida Today. This week, for the first time, Bob replied with constructive criticism of this week’s column. We traded emails about his comments that I was being inaccurate and unfair by including Superintendent Desmond Blackburn as a co-creator of the proposed school safety plan.
It had been reported that Sheriff Wayne Ivey had created the plan and that the superintendent had stated it was worthy of consideration by he and the school board. In essence, my assertion that Blackburn participated in crafting the plan was contrary to the narrative presented.
While I countered that Blackburn’s actions constituted assent by his appearance at the press conference and lack of objection to the plan presented, who am I to buck the advice of an experienced writer and editor with decades more experience than I have as a writer? It’s a benefit of a friendship and professional alliance with Bob who has earned his stripes as Executive Editor at Florida Today.
While I can’t ignore the actions of the school board and superintendent as appearing to be supportive of the plan, and it being out of character for the sheriff to have presented the plan in the absence of consultation with those responsible for implementing it, here is the column as revised after my friend and now mentor Bob Gabordi’s observation of the original.
On Monday Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Superintendent of Schools Desmond Blackburn made a joint announcement of a safety plan for Brevard Schools. It appeared, in spite of statements to the contrary, that it was a collaborative effort that was reasoned and deliberated by those responsible for our kids’ safety while at school or school events.
You control what you can and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. No one is required to take the training and work at school while armed. It does allow for those who are willing to carry a firearm to do so and act as their own and the school’s first line of defense when seconds count and law enforcement may be minutes away. It’s a compromise that is worthy of support for the men and women who work in our schools and the kids who have no choice but to attend. Any staff taking the option will be required to complete 130 hours of training by the BCSO and then be a deputized Marshal for schools only.
I have concerns of the report labeling the plan as contentious from the outset. This was well before the public was largely aware of the proposal; in fact the story may have been the first many had heard of the idea. It was for me. Yet, the determination of controversy was made and reported, in my estimation long before reaction could be measured.
I can’t bring myself to ignore that the Superintendent was standing with the Sheriff in apparent support. It stands to reason that the two officials made the announcement together and stood in unity for the employees and students of Brevard Schools.
The board will have to approve this policy if it is to go forward. All five members were standing behind the superintendent as the announcement was made. It appears headed for easy approval and it’s an interesting position. Would you want to be the board member who votes it down and then have the unthinkable happen? I didn’t think so. Neither will they.
Oh, there will be detractors and those claiming adding guns to the school campus will not enhance safety. Alright then, if this is a bad idea, give us a better one. And I don’t mean the anti-gun crowd wanting to ban law abiding citizens from having certain types of weapons. That does nothing to address a potential shooter obtaining or already having the very same weapon these people would ban. No, a ban of any weapon or magazine capacity does nothing to enhance school safety. Have you actually heard an effective answer from the gun ban crowd?
Well, we have an answer from the people responsible for maintaining safety at our schools. It’s a good one that allows for immediate response by those who choose the responsibility. Until there is something better proposed, I’ll stand with Wayne and Desmond.