BCBE passes school firearm ban

Thursday night, some Baldwin County citizens are upset with the school board after a measure to ban all firearms from school campuses was passed.

The measure approved Thursday comes after a state law was passed this past year to regulate guns on school campuses.

School board members said the law implies that guns can be allowed on school campuses in certain circumstances, so the Baldwin County School Board decided to clarify that Thursday by banning guns entirely, with the exception of on-duty law enforcement.

The measure was passed five to two.

David Cox, District 1 seat on the board, said he opposes it.

“I feel like we’re simply going to limit law abiding citizens, and we’re not going to limit the people who choose to come to school with a firearm to harm,” said Cox, “It’s also a huge inconvenience for parents. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why parents may need to have a gun on campus, maybe in their vehicle. Maybe a mother has a weapon in her purse to defend herself and her family, and she will be in violation of the policy if she comes to pick up her children.”

Despite those concerns, five other members on the board were in favor of the measure, including District 4 seat and Board President, Norman Moore.

“There’s no place for anybody to carry a firearm on school campus,” Moore told FOX10 Thursday night before the meeting.

The biggest concern with the measure is whether or not it is unlawful. Moore said he checked with the Attorney General of Alabama, and the motion does not conflict with the most recent state law passed.

“So all we’re doing is stating what has been our policy for many years, firearms or weapons are not allowed on school campuses and it’s a very reasonable law,” he said.

Meanwhile, some residents said they are infuriated by the measure passed this evening.

“I’m furious about it, I’m really upset about it,” said James Hall, a parent in Baldwin County, “I said my piece in there, and I think I speak for a lot of folks in Baldwin County, but I’m disappointed and really upset.”

Another measure passed at the school board meeting Thursday night, was the decision to lower summer school fees. Some high school principals have requested the motion in order to make it more affordable for students to graduate on time.

Half-credit courses would decrease from $175 to $150, and one credit courses would decrease from $350 to $300. The change would be enacted by summer of 2014.

Some folks are wondering why the school board would want to decrease some revenue when the board is already looking for more money in order to handle rapid student-growth costs.

Terry Wilhite with Baldwin County Schools said it is in the best interest of parents.

“The revenue isn’t made off the backs of parents so their children can have great programs like a summer school program, there’s tax initiatives for those sorts of efforts to build schools and increase academics,” said Wilhite.

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