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IA – OPINION – There are plenty of bipartisan ways to make Iowa schools safer

After every school shooting, millions debate the same hackneyed talking points on guns. These discussions typically ignore state and local K-12 policies that have proven effective, and fall under the radar because they don’t create nearly the level of controversy that gun control does. I recently sat down with Iowa Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire, to discuss school safety. Cournoyer said her political career began inadvertently in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. At the time, she was president of the Pleasant Valley Junior High PTA. Her children were the same age as the victims. She contacted her school board member to inquire what was being done to ensure student safety. She said she was angry when the board member neglected to return her calls and emails, so she began attending meetings and noticed the board member was often missing. At the encouragement of a friend, she ran for the seat and won. While on the Pleasant Valley School Board, she helped to staff more school-resource officers and install interlocking doors. She also supported the use of an app that allows students to alert school officials and law enforcement when they see or hear anything potentially dangerous. This is an essential step. For example, former high-school classmates of the Dayton shooter said they noticed he frequently made violent threats. Several students reported those threats to law enforcement, but nothing was done. A similar pattern of psychotic behavior was revealed in the Parkland shooter.  [full article]

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