Where They Stand: Gov. candidates outline school safety plans

News

(WPRI) — With the general election just six weeks away, Rhode Island’s candidates for governors have all laid out their visions for safe schools.

Allan Fung – Republican Candidate

Monday, Republican candidate and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung said as governor, he would offer every Rhode Island school $30,000 in rapid security upgrades.

“Video monitoring, door intruder defense systems, a bulletproof film for windows,” Fung said.

Also part of his $21 million plan is to make sure each school has a school resource officer.

“In Cranston, we have four school resources officers, conducted threat assessments, started upgrades, and added police details,” Fung said.

Fung says the plan would be funded by cutting millions from the General Assembly budget, plus using funds from the state’s School Building Authority Capital Fund.

Gina Raimondo – Democratic Candidate

Earlier this summer, Governor Gina Raimondo announced $10 million in the existing capital fund will go towards school safety projects.

“We’re talking about intercom systems, cameras, fixing locks, fixing cracked windows, making sure windows lock,” Raimondo said in August.

Raimondo also spearheaded a decision to prohibit anyone other than a police officer from carrying a gun in schools, closing what she claimed was a loophole in state law that allows individuals with concealed carry permits to bring their guns to school. The state budget she signed into law earlier this year includes funding to partially reimburse districts for hiring school resource officers.

Joe Trillo – Independent Candidate 

Independent candidate Joe Trillo’s 10-point school safety plan also has some of these elements. He agrees with Fung schools should have armed school resource officers. He also wants mandatory metal detectors.

Trillo says each school district needs to assess what it thinks should be implemented in its schools, and come up with a proposal, adding that the city or town will put up 50 percent of the money and the state will match it.

“When I am governor, I will make money available for the schools to use for this purpose, but a certain percentage would have to come from the cities and towns,” Trillo wrote in a statement to Eyewitness News.

Luis-Daniel Muñoz – Independent Candidate

Independent candidate Luis-Daniel Muñoz agrees with some of the candidates to invest in school resource officers, but not necessarily armed officers.

In a phone conversation, he told Eyewitness News he also believes there needs to be some type of rapid response outside the schools.

Muñoz says when rebuilding schools, safety should be in mind, but that right now we need some immediate interventions prior to rebuilding.

Anne Armstrong – Compassion Party

Compassion Party candidate Anne Armstrong also released a statement to Eyewitness News, saying in part “escalating ‘security’ in schools by turning them into police zones with metal detectors and armed, uniformed officers will never eliminate the threat of a small group of determined attackers to shoot up a school and it runs the risk of traumatizing young children and turning our school zones into war zones.”

Armstrong also said she’d offer “bonus pay” to any teacher willing to obtain a concealed carry permit, and will install security cameras in every classroom and office in the school.

William Gilbert – Moderate Party

Moderate candidate William Gilbert told Eyewitness News there were several things needed to address long-term causes of school violence, including addressing mental health treatment.

“To really address school safety we must harden the schools with various checkpoints to place distance between the weapons and the children, while balancing the freedoms and rights of our students to be free of unwarranted searches and seizures. The cost to accomplish this will be far easier to figure out versus the civil liberties we must consider. We cannot live in a police state with every moment requiring permission and search because we are afraid,” Gilbert wrote to Eyewitness News.

School Bond Question

Last week, Governor Raimondo asked why Mayor Fung hadn’t supported Question One, a $250-million bond for school infrastructure.

“We’ve asked him exactly what would you want to change? And we get no answers,” Raimondo said in a press conference last week.

Monday, Fung finally fired back saying he intends to vote yes but wants to create a formula for how the money will be distributed.

“The initial proposal talked about square footage. I wanted to make sure that Little Compton, Woonsocket, Westerly, Cumberland, has the same opportunities for those dollars as Providence or the urban core areas,” Fung said.

Full Statements:

“I’ve put out a 10-point plan, which clearly outlines everything that needs to be done.  What each school

district needs to do is assess what it thinks should be implemented in its schools, because each school is different,

and come up with a proposal.  The city or town will put up 50% of the money and the state will match it at 50%.

When I am governor, I will make money available for the schools to use for this purpose, but a certain

percentage would have to come from the cities and towns.”

— Joe Trillo, Independent Candidate

I would like to point out that the Parkland, Fl. shooting took place in a school with a Resource Officer present. In North Kingstown a teen girl had her face slashed in a suburban school with a Resource Officer present. Most recently, a student was even before entering a school where a Resource Officer may have help.

To really address the long term causes of school violence we must 

1. Address the over decline of civility and overall violence in our society.

2. Better assess and treat mental illness; including these types of treatment in more health plans too.

3. Parental accountability needs to be addressed. Society doesn’t allow parents to condone or supply mind damaging alcohol and drugs to minors, infants,  preteens and teens, yet they can expose them to violent video games, a drug filled life style and free access to unsecured firearms. We must changed the current trend that “a thug life is cool”

To really address school safety we must harden the schools with various checkpoints to place distance between the weapons and the children, while balancing the freedoms and rights of our students to be free of unwarranted searches and seizures. The cost to accomplish this will be far easier to figure out versus the civil liberties we must consider. We cannot live in a police state with every moment requiring permission and search because we are afraid.

Most likely unless we fundamentally and purposely start changing our culture and expectations of our citizens these trends may be on the rise: more the a few sounds bites will be required to reverse it. 

Maybe Al and Tipper Gore were right when they wanted to ban violent video games and predicted the future to come but I still don’t think so. It starts at home and as the family has crumbled so has society. We are now on the second generation of latch key unsupervised youth raising themselves on tap music and chicken nuggets.

-Bill Gilbert, Moderate Party

I am old enough to remember hiding under my desk in grade school during ‘Nuclear Bomb’ drills but it takes peace among nations to eliminate the threat altogether so that children can learn mathematics and literature rather than cower in fear while resources are poured into escalating armament cycles. 

Similarly, escalating ‘security’ in schools by turning them into police zones with metal detectors and armed, uniformed officers will never eliminate the threat of a small group of determined attackers to shoot up a school and it runs the risk of traumatizing young children and turning our school zones into war zones.

Even if we were to lock down the schools with metal detectors and armed police, these provisions do nothing to stop attacks on school BUSES, which have been identified as major undefended targets, and psychological experiments such as the Stanford Prison Experiment demonstrate that putting armed patrols among an undefended population ultimately leads to the patrols ‘policing’, rather than protecting that population. 

A root-cause analysis of school shootings turns up a recurrent theme over and over again: every single purported school shooter was taking mind-altering drugs such as SSRI’s and every single shooter had an addiction to ‘first person shooter’ video games where the player is rewarded in the game for committing graphically depicted acts of violence. The combination of these two stimuli has been demonstrated to cause a fugue-like state in some susceptible individuals such that they develop difficulty differentiating between the game and reality and on occasion act out the roles from the game in real life. 

There is a doctor in North Carolina who has developed a treatment for this condition. We can implement his protocols at no cost to the schools by requiring training in the ‘Piland Protocol’ for all medical professionals who prescribe psychoactive drugs to children and by teaching parents of children who are given these drugs the dangers that violent patterning activities pose to kids in this population. These costs can be borne by health insurance rather than burdening our already burdened school budgets.

I will also offer bonus pay to any teacher willing to obtain a concealed carry permit and provide back up security in the event that armed outsiders force their way into the school, and I will install security cameras in every classroom and office in the school. 

These cameras can pay for themselves in two ways because they will be online and connected to an IP address to which parents can log in to observe their children in class. This will eliminate potential torts claims against schools and teachers because every interaction between child and school official is now observable to the parents, and the school districts can sell and stream advertising TO THE PARENTS using the service to offset the costs. Parents can see for themselves their child’s behavior and performance in school and this will strengthen the home school partnership through which education works best.

These cameras can also be used by students missing school because of illness and on snow days to prevent interruptions in the children’s education. 

The revenue generated by streaming ads along the bottom of these live feeds to parents can also pay for the cost of providing merit bonuses to the teachers trained and vetted for concealed carry. The kids never have to know or be traumatized by intrusive measures.

Finally, I think it’s important to remember the role of heavenly intervention in all our affairs and return prayer to our schools. 

Thank you again and I look forward to explaining to you more about the Piland Protocol.

— Anne Armstrong, Compassion Party

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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