Following last week's NRA press conference in which lobbyist Wayne LaPierre called for armed guards in every school, Patch reached out to Soquel Union Elementary School District Superintendent Henry Castaniada for his thoughts on the guns in local schools.
Castaniada on gun laws:
Nobody should have an assault rifle. It's politics and power and a loss of perception of what we've become. As superintendent I worry about safety. But when people start talking about assault rifles as a right, I struggle with this.
Laws have been written in a way that people can find loopholes. ... I don't mind people who hunt or skeet shoot. But when you give people military weapons for no purpose other than doing carnage like what happened in Connecticut, what is your value system?
We have irrational people who want to shoot 300 rounds. What do you need that gun for? They say it's the Second Amendment. When was the Second Amendment written? Did that have any connection to the technology today? Absolutely not. It's ludicrous for anyone to have an assault rifle. Then they say we should arm everybody. You want children to be safe and you want to arm everyone? This is the rationality that we're dealing with.
Castaniada on the goal of public education:
"We're educators. Our job every day is to the bring out the very best in our children. It's in nurturing, being inclusive, and making an environment for our students' hope. That's our mission. When you have the NRA saying this is what schools should do, I look at that statement and say 'Whose mission are you talking about?' I struggle with their message. Their message has nothing to do with why people go into public education."
Castaniada on protecting students:
Parents have a right to believe that when they send their children to school, those children are safe. What I'm struggling with is having the National Rifle Association saying 'We want to change your mission. We believe in our perspective because this is our mission.' I'm struggling with this. We're raising children. We're embracing what parents give their children. We're nurturing calmness. And then someone says 'If you have an armed guard at your school every day, there's a parity to violence.'
If we don't build environments where we build a healthy conscience and where we can reach out and be nurturing, what world do we become? We become a penal system. That's not public education.
Do you agree with Castaniada's stance on guns in schools? Disagree? Does he make you feel like your kids are safe at school? Tell us in the comments!