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Thursday, July 9, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters To The Editor

Guns In Schools -- Adding Firearms Won't Help Protect Our Children

I strongly disagree with the June 16 op-ed piece by State Sen. Pam Roach wherein she advocates armed citizens on school campuses to deter student violence.

As school-board president of a large suburban district, Lake Washington, I have the responsibility, along with my four colleagues, to provide safe places in 40 locations in which 25,000 children attend classes. As the father of a fifth-grader, I also have a more personal stake in the safety of our classrooms.

In her column, Roach says, "Some people would place our children's safety only in the hands of the law, which unfortunately is too often broken." She suggests that persons, possibly staff or other individuals carrying concealed weapons or having ready access to guns, would deter gunplay at school.

This view is irresponsible, particularly coming from the chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

The law in this state is working on our school campuses. Recent data collected by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction show that a tough stance on students bringing guns illegally to school, including immediate expulsion, reduces the number of firearms on campuses.

In our district, partnerships with three local police departments, along with our own security personnel, are building positive relationships with students and making our schools safer. A broadly inclusive district safety committee is developing recommendations to defuse campus violence.

The Parent Teacher Student Association in our district has made school safety a top priority.

Recent tragedies in schools across our nation are another aspect of workplace violence. As a culture we need to end this violence. Adding guns to the equation as Senator Roach suggests will do nothing to protect out children.

Doug Eglington President, Board of Directors, Lake Washington School District

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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