Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on February 01, 2013 @ 5:09PM
Created on January 16, 2013 @ 6:12PM
On the same day President Barack Obama signed 23 gun control executive orders and spoke about the society of violence, US Senator Joe Manchin was in Harrison County to hear what everyone thinks of school safety in relation to this issue.
For a little more than an hour, the floor in the Robert C. Byrd High School auditorium was open to police officers, teachers and other school officials to openly talk to Senator Manchin about what they think needs done to make sure our schools are safe. The topics varied and as you can expect, opinions were very different.
Since 2008, the Mountain State has spent $31-million on school safety issues. Most people at the roundtable agreed that more federal money is needed to help update the safety issues.
This led to a discussion on the Prevention Resource Officers and who should be able to carry guns in school. A lot of the teachers said they wouldn't feel comfortable carrying guns; however, a ROTC teacher said he thinks he's more than trained to carry one. Some said it should be an option for teachers if they'd like.
The teachers said more actually needs focused on counselors and the mental health issues. They said they're able to track these issues starting at a young age. They thought the addition of PRO's in the elementary schools could help curb problems.
Almost everyone in the room agreed that video games show a nature of violence which then becomes a problem for the students.
Senator Manchin plans to take these ideas back to Washington. He's also introduced legislation for a commission on mass violence to gather information like he did in Harrison County.
"When you gather all the information, then you're able to sit down and say, how do you truly change the environment, the culture? How do you keep the most precious place we have, our schools, our students and our educators safe?" said Senator Manchin.
Harrison County Superintendent Susan Collins said this information will also help the county while checking safety issues. She said hearing from the teachers and the students was very beneficial because they are the ones directly affected.
"We have heard now from the various groups. We've heard the things that they feel is important to them, especially our teachers and our students. What is it that matters to them? And we take that to heart," she said.
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