Category Archives: Law Enforcement in Schools

Concealed Handguns: To Carry or Not to Carry


Two horrific school shootings this past year at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University have galvanized both “concealed carry” gun owners and firearms opponents, in verbal battles that are taking place across the country.

A recent Seattle P-I blog adds the University of Washington to the list of campuses debating the issue.

From what I can tell, there are two central viewpoints here:

1) Those who believe that “concealed carry” laws on campuses will allow responsible owners to bring an aura of safety should a shooter begin a rampage;

2) Those who think banning the weapons on campus outright (and limiting them elsewhere) will prevent said shooter’s access to get deadly weapons in the first place.

Washington’s concealed pistol law allows 235,795 people to carry (as of May 7), according to Department of Licensing spokeswoman Christine Anthony. In fact, the state even has an “open carry” law, in which gun owners can wear their weapons outside their clothing that may surprise you.

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UPDATE: Vandals Tarnish a Schoolyear’s End

Early June 14, vandals hit North Mason High School, marking the second time in about a month the district has been attacked by graffiti and hooliganism.

In mid-May, vandals struck their bus barn, damaging 28 of the district’s total 33 school buses by breaking gauges and tagging buses, ultimately doing about $10,000 in damage.

In mid-June they chose the high school — spraying more graffiti, discharging fire extinguishers and pushing chairs down the stairs — at a time when the school’s seniors have graduated and there’s only days left in school.

UPDATE: Now, Mason County Sheriff’s deputies believe they’ve solved the case …

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‘Sometimes Parents Need a Timeout Too’

I spent last Wednesday with Bremerton School Resource Officer John Bogen, who was the subject of a story Sunday.

Our feature revolved around what school resource officers do at the high school level. But these officers are called on to work at the district’s other schools, too.

Bogen does much of the same work he does at the high school at Mountain View Middle School and Bremerton Junior High School.

In Bremerton’s elementaries, he visits periodically to introduce himself to the younger ones.

He told me a funny story of a time in which a young student blurted out during the middle of class, “My daddy got arrested last week!”

Now, he says, it’s not that uncommon of an occurrence. But the first time he handled it, he needed an on-the-spot response to put the children’s minds at ease.

“Sometimes parents need a timeout too,” Bogen told them.

A ‘Disturbing Benchmark’

Could our nation handle another Columbine?

USA Today broke a tragic yet insightful story June 4 about some misguided students who could indeed be the next to enter a school with plans of killing peers and staff.

We know that recent events, even in Kitsap County, have led misdirected teens to draw up plans of some form. Thankfully, they’ve been averted by law enforcement.

One plan, talked of by a female student at Kingston Junior High on, led to her expulsion. Another plan, formulated by a Central Kitsap Junior High School student, was not only foiled but he accidently shot a peer while apparently teaching him how to shoot a gun – one they’d planned to use to kill the principal, according to county court documents.

As the USA Today article winds to a close, its implication is that we need to focus on more than math and reading at school.

“… Mark Greenberg, a researcher at Penn State University, says … schools’ “intensive and single-minded focus” on basic skills is pushing out time to work on social and emotional well-being.

“Many teachers we work with around the country feel under such enormous pressure to spend all their time on reading and math. I’m sure we’re going to see more children who are disaffected and feel school is not a warm and friendly place for them.”

Parents: Deaths were Accidents

It has been an unimaginable and traumatic week for students and families of Kingston Junior High School.

And on top of the stress and sadness of two student’s deaths and a campus lockdown last Tuesday, a relentless rumor mill has swirled through the north end of the county.

As I spent the day in Kingston last Tuesday — near campus during the lockdown — it became increasingly apparent that students believed the deaths of Blake Whitworth, of Hansville and Zachary Kvistad of Gamblewood, both 14, had died from suicide.

Then later in the week, a story appeared in a Seattle newspaper and on at least on broadcast station stating that the deaths could be the result of “the choking game.”

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Morning News: It’s Police over Principal in Schools

Let’s say a fist fight breaks out at a local school and two boys are eventually seperated. Is it a trip to the principal’s office for possible a possible suspension?

These days, it’s not a fist fight, it’s an assault — and in many cases, it will involve a trip to to “juvie hall” — AKA jail for juveniles — in the back of a patrol car.

Whereas school officials once handled most disciplinary issues (remember the days a trip to the vice principal’s office was a scary thing?), these days, fears of gun-weilding teens and alleged lawsuit-happy parents have made them a matter for police, not principals.

It’s gone too far, according to some families interviewed by the Texas-based Dallas Morning News, in a Friday story.

“Much of the responsibility for discipline has shifted from the principal’s office to the patrol car,” writes Karen Ayres of the Morning News. “Recent events in local schools reflect the trend.”

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Tribune: Students Planned School Plot

Four Key Peninsula Middle School students allegedly planned to bring stolen guns to school to shoot staff members and set the school on fire, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Office personnel said they’d foiled the plan, according to a story by Stacey Mulick, which led to the arrest of three boys ages 12, 13 and 14.

For Kitsap Sun readers – especially those affiliated with Central Kitsap Junior High School – this tale is all too familiar.

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