RPS board approves gun safety resolution ahead of school year

[anvplayer video=”5130786″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – Ahead of a new school year and in response to recent mass shootings taking the lives of children across the country, the Rochester Public School board met Tuesday night to discuss a gun safety resolution.

The board passed the resolution with the main focus of educating students, staff and parents about the safety of locking up guns in their homes which leads to the overall safety in Rochester Public Schools.

"It’s education and that’s what the actual part of this is just saying let’s make sure that people have the information. Hopefully, they will read it and hopefully, some folks will be more careful and a life or two or more might be spared," RPS board chair Jean Marvin said.

Board members discussed this effort as being an individual, institutional and societal commitment to address these issues.

"We can’t just have the criminal legal system addressing it on their end. We cannot just have mental health professionals addressing it and then separately schools addressing it and separately organizations like every town and be smart addressing it," board member Dr. Jessica Garcia said.

A local chapter of ‘Be Smart,’ a gun safety group, also a part of ‘Moms Demand Action,’ was heavily present at the school board meeting.

"And so as a school district, you have an important, tremendous opportunity in front of you to equip and empower parents and other adults to make safe decisions about safe gun storage that will save lives," one member of the group told the board.

The district is encouraging all local, state and national representatives to support reasonable legislative action to reduce gun violence.

The focus of the board for this resolution is student safety, not politics.

"For me, this is a nonpartisan issue. It’s not a red issue, a blue issue. It’s a community issue," board member Don Barlow said.

RPS is also researching best practices for including school resources officers (SRO) in its schools. At the state level, SROs have been shown to be effective for many years, according to the MN Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington.

"My personal experience and my anecdotal experience of being an SRO tell me that that is some of the secret sauce to actually making kids feel safe, feel trusted and yet at the same time, stop tragedies from happening," Harrington said.

The MN DPS is giving out 10,000 free gun locks at the Minnesota State Fair this year, which kicks off on Thursday.

All of the details on the resolution can be found here.