An Idaho school board member who supported arming teachers is facing a recall election.
Bonner Country Clerk Ann Dutson-Sater reports that enough valid signatures have been garnered to push the Idaho recall election forward. Duston-Sater also noted that under state statute, a recall election target has five days to resign after being notified of the filing. Youngdahl, though, told KREM that he already received the recall letter and has absolutely no intention of resigning. The election will be held in March.
Youngdahl sparked a debate last year when he first proposed arming teachers, administrators and other school staff in the rural area. The school board head’s plan involved the utilization of a fingerprint locking system which would only allow those staffers authorized to handle the weapons to actually fire the guns. Guns would be stored in secure locations.
“We’ve had quite a bit of reaction,” he said at the time. “Obviously it’s an emotional discussion and we’ve had a lot on both sides.”
Five of the Idaho school district’s 11 educational facilities are located in rural areas where response time by law enforcement officers can reportedly take up to 20 minutes. The number of children and staff which could be killed by a gunman in that amount of time is nearly too devastating a figure to ponder.
Imagine for a moment this scenario: An emergency call regarding a school shooting goes out on the scanner. Hundreds if not several thousand people in any given community possess a home scanner and listen to the police and EMS traffic constantly. The local radio station and newspaper pick up on the school shooting alert within seconds, because they, too, have scanners. After the initial call for aid is uttered, the dispatcher notes that officers/deputies will not arrive on scene for up to 20 minutes. By now, the terrifying news has hit Facebook, and parents and local residents have begun sharing the details with everyone on their friends’ list – but help has still not arrived.
The Idaho school board member’s proposal could save many lives.
But Youngdahl’s proposal to arm teachers and other staff inside the schools was tabled in late October. Superintendent Shawn Woodward told the media that the initiative is no longer being considered. Among the reasons cited for thwarting the proposal was that only eight percent of teachers and 14 percent of classified staff supported the plan.
Superintendent Woodward had this to say about the guns-in-schools proposal which prompted the recall petition:
We are not finished with the broader issue of school safety. No one solution has yet been selected for recommendation to the board.
One of the school safety possibilities reportedly favored by the Lake Pend Oreille School Board involved retired police officers volunteering to patrol the schools. The feasibility or likely participation in such a program also remains unknown.