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School Official: 'It's Ludicrous for Anyone to Have an Assault Rifle'

Henry Castaniada said he struggles with the idea of guns in schools.

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!

Jane December 29, 2012 at 01:02 AM
So very well said, Mr.Castaniada! As a mother of two young children, I am outraged that anyone thinks putting weapons in our schools is a good idea. I am thankful to have Mr. Castaniada in our school system.
Frank Geefay December 30, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I totally agree with Superintendent Castaniada's sentiments.
Wayne Day January 01, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Castaniada is merely regurgitating talking points from the LAST time they tried to ban assault weapons. "Who needs them," "The Second Amendment was written 200 years ago," "They're only for killing," it's really disingenuous, faulty thinking. The thought of guns in school is horrible until there's trouble, then they call people with guns and hope they get there in time.
Jacob Bourne (Editor) January 02, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Wayne, can you explain why Castaniada's points on the Second Amendment and assault rifles only being for killing are "disingenuous, faulty thinking"?
Frank Geefay January 03, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Disingenuous means insincere. Does Superintendent Castaniada sound like a dispassionate person who does not care about the safety of his students or the practicality of owning assault weapons? If you believe in assault weapons then would you also agree that you should have the right to own a modern 3000 bullets/min Gatling gun, grenade launcher, or Stinger missile? After all aren't these also Arms. Why not a Bradley M1 Abrams Tank if you could afford one? How about an atomic bomb? Are there any weapons that would be excluded by the 2nd Amendment and if so what and why? What faultless thinking do you have for making such claims?
patty January 11, 2013 at 04:58 PM
As a parent and a school employee, Superintendent Castaniada's comments could not be more true. While our students safety is always first and foremost, turning the school campuses into a "military compound" will in no way enforce the safe nurturing environment needed to educate our children. The events that have occurred in recent months have been due to unstable individuals that had access to firearms that should never be on the streets. Once again- we need to address why these people with obviously deep mental problems have not been dealt with long before such atrocities occur, and why they had access to weapons that only law enforcement or military personnel should have. And yes Mr. day, we will call the people, assuming you mean the Police, that have the assault weapons because they're the ONLY ones that should have them. Bravo Superintendent Castaniada!

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