Gregory Thayer: Senate ed committee does not go far enough

This letter is by Gregory Thayer, of Rutland.

As usual, the Democratic leadership in the Vermont Legislature is not going far enough in protecting our school children.

The Senate Education Committee is moving forward with a bill, S.138, which is an Education School Safety bill on safety measures. This bill only addresses a sixteenth of the larger problem. This is a very fluid situation.

Senate bill S.138 calls for these measures for all Vermont public and approved independent schools, and the bill includes these four key components: options-based response drills; adopt all hazards emergency operations plans; access control and visitor management policy policies; and behavioral threat assessments team.

I struggle with why this hasn’t already been going on in our school before now. I believe that some school districts are employing some of these measures on their own. This is about protecting our children, our future. I firmly believe that we must go a lot further and adopt measures that will bring immediate safety to every school and the children and educational staffs.

In June 2022, during my campaign for Vermont lieutenant governor, I proposed a simple five-point safety plan and procedures for very school in Vermont, including private schools. We need serious people working to fix this problem. I believe that to make our schools safe for all students and educators and staff, we must at a minimum adopt these measures:

  • Address the mental-health problems in our communities and stop kicking the can down the road. If a student exhibits mental-health issues and the parents won’t voluntarily submit their child to an independent evaluation, a second (and possibly third) licensed and trained therapist must evaluate the subject. This issue needs serious attention by serious people, and the current leadership isn’t doing the right thing. Change and adopt statutes to address these problems.
  • We should also take a good, hard look at the pharmaceutical drugs — especially ADHD drugs and antidepressants — that seem to play a big role in many school shootings and massacres.
  • Install metal detectors in schools in Vermont.
  • Install live surveillance cameras around every school across the state. New surveillance technology can detect firearms on a person or in a vehicle and lock down the school.
  • Place retired law enforcement officers and/or veterans in our schools as armed trained resource officers. We are now finding out that police officers stayed outside the Robb Elementary School in Texas for over 40 minutes, doing nothing to save the kids — in fact, aggressively preventing parents from entering the school and trying to save their kids. We need officers inside our schools to prevent this from happening again. Allow highly trained educators and staff to carry and conceal a firearm.

Note to the teacher union bosses: get out of the way and start protecting our children and stop worrying about your bottom line. This problem is bigger then your union. Your “anti” action is killing our great little state. Moreover, law enforcement is part of the solution in this problem.

The latest active shooter at a small Christian school in Nashville is horrific and sad, and my heart cries for the victims, their families and the entire school and church community. The fact is, no gun law would have stopped this girls actions. She was not on any mental health watch list; she had some mental health issues and was being treated for depression, but not enough for her medical provider to notify any governmental or law enforcement agency. Her own family where she lived did not witness any behavioral issues, nor did they know she had seven firearms in her room. The family said they knew that she was experiencing some “adult medical issues.”

She purchased all seven firearms legally over time and no wait period could have stopped or deescalated the shooters actions. I don’t care about this woman’s sexual identity — she’s an American with a serious undetected mental health problem.

What could have helped or at least slowed her down are surveillance cameras around the campus perimeter with detection software to detect firearms that can lock down doors and windows of entry. Metal detectors would have sounded alarms. And well trained former law enforcement or veterans on campus watching for any threat would have helped. More gun control is not the answer.

President Joe Biden’s words were irresponsible, and quite frankly, insensitive and childish. Further, nothing he said or proposed would have stopped this or any of these horrible actions. Needless to say he and his party had control of the Congress for the past two years and they did nothing. Criminals and the criminal elements do not respect gun control laws, they do not care about any of it. If they have a plan, they will get the guns by any means and carry out their craziness.

Gregory Thayer
Former Republican Candidate for lieutenant governor
Rutland, Vermont

Image courtesy of Public domain

6 thoughts on “Gregory Thayer: Senate ed committee does not go far enough

  1. Following this incident, I was having a discussion about it with an acquaintance. They said that guns are themselves animate objects and thus the only solution is to have total gun control. I was shocked at that statement, and responded, “That is not true. Guns are inanimate objects. They are like a tool. It is the person using them that is the problem. We don’t have a gun problem. We have a mental health problem.” The person then said that we do not have a mental health problem but we sure do have a gun problem. The person then said again that guns were animate objects all on their own. What can one say when confronted with statements like that — and from a person who is highly educated (which this person is)?? That statement is insane and not based in reality. Totally off the deep end. I was shocked. There was no mistake. The person said it twice and I was standing right there.

  2. The Nashville shooter had originally target a different school but decided against it because it had higher security. When she entered the school, she apparently encountered the 3 adults first. Had one been trained and armed, there might have been fewer casualties. Things won’t change until parents insist on it.

  3. Interesting that all the people making these decisions are provided with detail, plenty of heavy arms to protect, politicians, judges, union reps and the list goes on.

  4. I don’t recall ever hearing of a lunatic attacking a school with a resource officer present. It seems to me that if we ever want to get serious about protecting our children this would be the first logical step. But we know how progressives and liberals feel about police and guns.

  5. Interesting that all the people making these decisions are provided with security detail, plenty of heavy arms to protect politicians, judges, union reps and the list goes on. After Sandy Hook, I was in the post office and 2 armed security officers were on full time just sitting at the entrance, and an extra escort was on the elevator. I commented to the “elevator guard” that it was too bad our children aren’t provided with the same level of protection. He just scoffed.

  6. And curiously… not a word about parental school choice. It always someone telling others what they ought to do and never letting them decide for themselves. Just more political noise.

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