By Tracy Ouellette
In Monday night’s Board Policy and Curriculum Committee meeting for the Waterford Graded School District, President Dan Jensen broached the subject of using defensive weapons in the schools.
The hot-button issue of arming school staff has come to the forefront in school districts across the nation since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, when 26 students and staff were gunned down by a man who blasted his way into the school.
“I don’t think we need to have guns in the schools,” said Jensen. “But we have no way to stop someone in the school until the police arrive.”
Jensen said he would like to see someone contracted at each school to carry an electroshock taser weapon for defense. He cited Wisconsin’s Concealed Carry law, noting the person would have to be trained and hold a valid Concealed Carry license.
“Locked glass doors aren’t a huge deterrent,” Jensen said. “I would like to see something done.”
Committee members discussed the possibility of having pepper spray as well, which would also require someone on staff to be trained.
“It makes me uncomfortable to even talk about it,” said Fox River Middle School Principal Darlene Markle, when asked how she felt about having defensive weapons in her school.
Woodfield Elementary School Principal Shirley Guelig echoed Markle’s sentiment, saying this was a tough conversation to have and that she would want a lot more information, especially about the legal ramifications of using a device should it become necessary.
Committee members agreed Monday night that there needs to be more research done before continuing the discussion, and tasked Superintendent Chris Joch with exploring what needs to happen should they go forward with supplying defensive weapons to the schools.
The committee tabled its discussion until its next meeting, when more information will be available.
Lunch prices drop
At a Personnel and Finance Committee meeting also held Feb. 4, Joch brought up the matter of a discrepancy in lunch prices to the members. Currently, students in kindergarten through third grade pay $2.25 a day for lunch, and grades 4-6 pay $2.35.
Joch said he received an email from a parent asking why the schools still charge 10 cents more for lunches in grades 4-6 when these students no longer receive slightly larger portions, as done in the past.
When federally mandated changes in school lunch programs kicked in last month, the larger portions for grades 4-6 were eliminated.
After a discussion about options, the committee voted to recommend to the School Board that the lunch prices for grades 4-6 be lowered to $2.35, the same as in the younger grades.