Legislative Democrats don’t trust 
locals to protect school children

We can all breathe a little easier this week because Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee was able to protect us from the stress of self-government by demonstrating what one-party government control really looks like.

I’m referring to the committee’s killing, on a party line vote of 3-2, of a bill cosponsored by Sen. Ted Harvey that would have allowed local school boards to explore various security options, including the possibility of allowing teachers and staff the ability to carry a weapon on school property.

Mind you, this was not a requirement; it only would allow local school boards to consider this as one of the options available to increase school safety.

Luckily, the Democrats on the committee had the good sense to not allow gapped-tooth yokels outside of the metro area to make their own decisions. Indeed, the chairwoman of the committee, Democrat Sen. Lucia Guzman, mentioned that she had not heard from Denver Public Schools on the issue and, according to one observer, she didn’t seem to give much weight to representatives of other school districts who had appeared.

The committee’s vice chairman, Democrat Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, also voted against the measure. Ulibarri is brand-spanking-new to the Senate after having spent his time prior to running as the public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ulibarri seemed to be worried about students being caught in a “crossfire,” which apparently would be worse than simply being defenseless. Given the fact that his short resume seems to have spared him the indignity of private employment, he may have thought the term applied to an old political program on the nearly extinct Cable News Network.

I am told some testimony before the committee from more rural school districts pointed out that law enforcement may be 30 to 40 minutes away from their schools. Representatives indicated they simply wanted to look at all aspects of protection, including a provision that would allow the local entities to remove a gun-free zone designation from their facilities under carefully controlled situations.

Local Republican state Sen. Steve King observed later that, having been a school resource officer, he had met “very committed teachers that would take a bullet for a child but it might be a better outcome if they could consider the option to discharge a bullet to protect that child.”

The other part of this summary dismissal by this legislative committee, preventing it from even reaching the floor for debate or consideration, has more texture than simply a refusal by some to acknowledge that mental defects, not firearms, are at the heart of these tragedies. The debate will continue between entrenched progressive politicians in urban areas, college towns and ski resorts and other representatives voicing opinions different from the rest of the people in the state, whom progressives wish would just go away.

The underlying issue is local control over school districts. It’s clear progressive politicians don’t believe locally elected boards can be trusted to implement proper policies.

We’ve seen that locally with some of the blowback to District 51 School Board member Jeff Leany, as he tried to suggest some different civics textbooks for the local curriculum. Much of the criticism was that he isn’t part of any special committee empowered by some other committee to study children’s textbooks.

I suppose it naïve to venture the idea that the committee that might be most important is the community that elected Leany to the school board, perhaps with the idea that he put forth just such ideas.

Legislative Democrats have been in a froth over the example of actions by the principal threat to education-related unions in the state — the Douglas County school board. Members of the Douglas County board have been forward-leaning in trying to curtail excessive union influence in their district and working toward allowing school choice.

Such measures demonstrate to the present legislative majority that rustic hayseeds and Republicans can’t be trusted to decide on how to educate or, apparently, protect their children.

Rick Wagner writes more about politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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