February 22, 2018 07:44 PM
The chair of the Osseo School Board said he believes armed volunteers walking school hallways might be a way of preventing school shootings.
But that idea is not going over well with everyone in the community.
Chairman Robert Gerhart spent six minutes reading from a prepared statement during Monday's school board meeting.
“Are we out of luck," he asked. "No. I have a solution and here’s my proposal.”
He went on call for vetted, trained and licensed volunteers to walk to the halls of Osseo schools with guns.
He said it would keep schools safe while state and federal politicians pick up a gun debate that could linger for years.
“I challenge all of us to have this courageous conversation, openly and honestly," he said. "This is action that we can actually take that can make a real difference in time for it to matter."
While the conversation abruptly ended there at the meeting, it was immediately picked up in the community.
“I was heartbroken," said Jesse Winkler, a father of four kids who attend Osseo schools. "I was disgusted."
Winkler said he is adamantly against an armed stranger tailing his kids from class to class.
“Instead of going to schools, talking to staff, talking to administrators, we propose policies that insight fear,” he said.
Gerhart declined an interview request from KSTP. However, in an e-mail, he appeared to back off slightly from his remarks.
He explained what he had in mind was arming volunteers that are on staff and who are licensed - not just volunteers from the community.
That view fits closely with President Donald Trump’s.
On Thursday, the president renewed his call to arm teachers – even suggesting pay bonuses for those who participate.
But at Osseo District Headquarters, Superintendent Kate Maguire is pushing back against the chairperson’s remarks.
In a statement, she said his comments “do not reflect my perspective or the official stance of the school district.”
Updated: February 22, 2018 07:44 PM
Created: February 22, 2018 04:27 PM
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