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12/19/2012 6:01:00 AM
Are our schools safe enough?
Kingman parents want beefed-up school security
JC AMBERLYN/MinerSecurity guards greet visitors at the entrance to the parking lot of Kingman High. Visitors must give their name and their reason for visiting to the guard, who then jots down their license plate number. Some parents are pushing for additional security measures at local elementary schools.
Security guards greet visitors at the entrance to the parking lot of Kingman High. Visitors must give their name and their reason for visiting to the guard, who then jots down their license plate number. Some parents are pushing for additional security measures at local elementary schools.

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - In light of last week's tragedy in Connecticut, some local parents believe it's time for the Kingman Unified School District to provide security guards at its elementary schools.

They're ready to circulate petitions, take the discussion to the school board and even volunteer to provide extra eyes and ears at the schools.

"I just want all of us to be safe," said Eleonore Land, who has one child attending Cerbat Elementary and two who will be in the future.

Land put out a call for action on Facebook and welcomes anyone interested in being a part of the movement to contact her via email at

Currently, the district contracts with Guard Force Security to provide services for Kingman High, Lee Williams High, Kingman Middle School and White Cliffs Middle School.

In addition, both the Kingman Police Department and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office devote several school resource officers to the district. The security guards do not carry firearms, but the resource officers do.

Still, parents say that's not enough.

"I feel there should be security guards at all the schools," said Christina Brown, whose son as well as her cousin's five children attend La Senita Elementary.

"I want to know my kids are safe."

There's a need for more oversight at the elementary schools, she said. She believes added security will give parents the peace of mind they so desperately need.

"My son should be as safe at school as he is with me," she said.

Kingman Unified Superintendent Roger Jacks said he understands why parents feel the way they do about their children's safety right now.

"I believe it's a valid conversation," Jacks said. "We have to decide as a community where we want to go with this."

Jacks said the district's commitment to safety has worked well in the past, but the type of violence that occurred in Connecticut last week makes him question everything.

He sent out a recommendation to the district's school board members Tuesday, suggesting they hold a security workshop in early January to hear from parents and explore the feasibility of providing security at the elementary schools.

"It's not cheap," Jacks said. "But you can't put a price on a child's life."

The district annually pays $174,019 to Guard Force for the four schools it provides security for. Kingman High is by far the most expensive, with a yearly bill of $86,362. The other three contracts range between $24,000 and $37,000 apiece.

When the district needs added security for specific events, such as homecoming, it pays additional money for the service.

The money pays for three security guards at Kingman High and one security guard at each of the other three schools. Each security guard costs the district roughly $30,000 - give or take $5,000 - a year, said Wanda Hubbard, KUSD's director of finance.

That's the price tag people could expect should the school board decide to put guards at each of its schools.

Here's how the school resource officers are divided among district schools:

• A KPD officer for White Cliffs who also visits Desert Willow and Hualapai Elementary.

• A KPD officer splits time between Lee Williams High and Palo Christi Elementary.

• A KPD officer spends time at both Kingman Middle School and Manzanita Elementary.

• A full-time MCSO deputy at Kingman High also visits La Senita Elementary when there's a need.

• A deputy splits time between Cerbat Elementary and Black Mountain School.

• An MCSO substation is on the campus of Mount Tipton.

School board member Laurie Voss Barthlow said the security discussion is definitely worth having, but she wants to learn how feasible it would be to ramp up security at the elementary schools and hear how the principals feel about it as well.

"Still, it's a discussion worth having," she said.

Frank Giamporcaro, a local man whose two children graduated from Kingman Unified schools, is joining the movement for more security at the elementary schools.

"Do whatever it takes," he said. "It's even worth raising taxes for."

He believes an added level of security at the elementary school could dissuade someone thinking of entering a school and doing harm.

There are security guards at malls, banks and most every place that contains valuables, he said.

"Wherever you have something valuable, you guard it," he said. "Our children are valuable."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Article comment by: Make Me Laugh

@ Don't Turn Our Centers of Education into Armed Fortresses

I think another name for those "panic buttons" is 'cell phones'. Now how fast did those swat teams get there and how many lives were not saved?

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2012
Article comment by: julie caudill

well no has the answers yet,but a meeting about it is one thing we should have, I would be more than happy to, pay extra, volunteer, just to be eyes and ears, what ever it takes, I do think we owe our children a safe environment for education, And anyone who does nt agree with that, Must not be a Parent !!!

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: Gun Huggers' Tax

One asked if non-child tax payers should pay for special security. Perhaps those wonderful, community minded gun huggers could throw in a special local firearms tax (no we can't call it a tax - it will be a KEEP OUR FUTURE LITTLE AK47ers ALIVE ASSESSMENT)

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: Don't Turn Our Centers of Education into Armed Fortresses

Mark my vote for no deadly weapons on any school campus. Instead, let's spend our security money on panic buttons placed throughout the schools that immediately notify a special force at the police dept.

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: Patrick W

"Lets turn back the clock to when only the rich could afford an education "

You must be talking about the system we have now . The rich send their kids to the best schools , and the rest of us are forced to deal with these second rate government monopoly schools .

Oh , "society" is really reaping some benefits from all that .
More like the grim reaper !

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: J P

Remove the unarmed security guards that get paid just to write down license plate numbers. Then arm each school with several police officers. And metal detectors. Costly yes, but are we going to wait for something to happen before we act to protect our children? And the 17 year old that is on probation that threatened the school should be charged and given jail time. Or is he related to "someone" is that why he got off so easy?

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: Parents Priority

@ step up.

Yea for some the choice between two packs of smokes or 10 bucks to hire an of duty cop would be a tough call.

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Volunteer patrol

Yes lets let the average Joe patrol in our schools with guns. That would be great. Half the time it appears our wonderful town can't even get a long waiting in line at Wal-mart with the constant griping and "I'm right, you are wrong," attitude. Let's force those parents that want gun laws to have their child protected by Jim Bob the gun nut who is unemployed and angry at the world anyways. Even those armed guards cannot take action. They are instructed to call 911 if something happens. If you want protection then pay for more police officers.

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Proud Hualapai Parent

I have children in school, and though this last week has me wanting to lock them in the house to keep them safe, there is no way that they would ever live a full life. We can only protect our kids, just as ourselves only so much. I agree that there should be a little more security at the schools, maybe with that $1.2 million that was "discovered" a portion could be used to aide in this process.

Many people in this community need to realize, there is only so much that security can do, it all starts at home! Parents need to be more involved with their children and knowing what they are involved in and up to! That's where it starts.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Step Up

@ Anson's Nephew

I think that is a great idea $10 a month per kid.... prob is, if parents won't pay for their kids breakfast and lunch, what makes us think they will pay the ten bucks.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Not Far Off

@ Michael Betts

"Of course we could turn back the clock and live in the past where only the richest could afford to educate their children."

Some people may think that just that thought is ridiculous, however, if you were to leave everything up to the Republicans that's exactly how it would be. Do you really think they want to help pay for educating America youth?

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

How about a $10 a month surcharge, paid by the parents, for each chid in school? That should be able to fund the cost of extra security and put the expense directly on the people demanding it.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Patrick Waldera

@ Oh Really ??

I hardly think warehousing children in these awful gov. institutions , where they are exposed to drugs , sex , bullies and violence , plus given a lousy eduction on top of it all is any kind of bargain .

Then of course the government has a monopoly on education . It faces no competition , and thus has no economic incentive what so ever to improve its product .

It's curious how some people have such a moral double standard . Someone who would never think of personally robbing their neighbor , thinks it's just fine if the government does it for them . Then again, thats what they teach in these so called " schools ."

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Michael Betts

"Finally, why are those with no children in these obsolete monstrosities forced to pay for them." It's called society. Just as most people do not serve in the military but all of us reap the benefits of the few who do. Of course we could turn back the clock and live in the past where only the richest could afford to educate their children.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: no name

Perhaps many of you missed what the Mr. Jacks and Wanda Hubbard said said so let me help you out. The guards we pay to walk our halls with a pencil and paper make 30K a year give or take. Now some are thinking that's pretty good money. Here is another eye opener for you they do not educate a single child. Starting salary for our teachers is only 28K a year and at least half the teachers are in that category. Why are some of you whining about the teachers pay when at least they are supposed to be providing us with a product? Get over yourselves. Those teachers just like the ones in Conn put your children first and always will when it comes to an armed invader and you complain any time there is even a whisper about a pay raise yet have no problem with paying someone to walk around who can do nothing other then write down a name or take a description more then the teachers. Get a life and lets get real.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Lena Margita

We live in a relatively safe community. Unfortunately, there are psychotic people on the loose and when they have a melt down, they can not always be stopped. Having recently moved back here from a city 4x the size of Kingman, Kingman does not have the problems and issues these schools had and needed on sight security. Furthermore, most of these officers were onsight to deal with the violence issues that were student on student/teacher/adult. Not gunmen.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: no name no name

here's a novel idea --
home school your own children !!!!
the extra expense may well be worth it considering the alternative !!!
education better, safety concerns little ( is your home safe?) arming public teachers ( not your concern)-- state paying for xtra security at schools
( not your problem)
accredited programs are available nationwide
considering the risks --- may be time to consider
alternative education opportunities

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: Mother of a Kindergarten

Why don't we just place metal detectors at all entrances to the schools and when you go through the security through main door an officer goes through their bags that way it will help eliminate any weapons that may slip through. And trust me I am all for the extra security, it is really needed here specially with the 2 threats that have happened. (1 threat at lee williams at winter formal : kid threatened to shoot the dance and of course the one to shoot KHS-north) and the way I see it with all the desert and mountains its easy for people to stand outside an hide as well to get the shots they want if they are that determined.... =(

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: Jacob Kinstadt

Hey, does anyone happen to remember back in August when a guy standing outside the Empire State Building decided to aim a gun at a couple of NYPD officers?

The police shot at him. And they killed him. And hit nine other bystanders.

Now, this was a fairly straightforward deal -- gunman points gun, police fire back. And these officers, presumably well-trained in the use of firearms, STILL hit nine innocent bystanders, either directly or with shrapnel from ricocheting rounds.

With that in mind, can someone please explain to me how a teacher with no prior firearms training is supposed to be handed a gun and then expected to fend off a hypothetical 20-year old storming unannounced into the classroom with an AR-15? And be able to do so without inadvertently maiming or killing any of the other two dozen warm bodies occupying the same closed, ricochet-prone space?

Of course, this hypothetical situation presumes the teacher actually has time to react, and that the lunatic with the AR-15 doesn't just shoot the teacher first. Which, if we armed teachers, would probably be the first thing they'd do anyway. Knowing IS half the battle, after all.

Hey, speaking of which, did anyone read about the shooting at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham over the weekend? Sounds to me like it's time for those RNs and MDs to get acquainted with some FNs, if you catch my drift. After all, they're in this business to save lives, right?

And what about that nutjob who shot up Ft. Hood a few years back and killed 13 people? Just think, if only we had some sort of armed security personnel at our military installations, then that terrible tragedy might never have occurred.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: mr. parker

Providing vetted citizens who wish to volunteer to guard schools is the first choice, then paid armed security.
Special training would be required for anyone to be able to patrol inside the schools.

The usual democrats are already squealing about gun control. Remember,Columbine occurred during Clinton's AWB.

Gallup polls indicate increased security in schools,scrutiny regarding our popular media such as cRap music with violent , misogynistic lyrics, extremely violent video games- you know where you're killed but you get another life.

Uploading adjudicated mental commitments to the NICS system should be updated as soon as possible-hear me Clarence the Clown of Jared Laughner shame?

Lanza was denied by the NICS system when he tried to purchase a firearm. Apparently, he didn't get a pass from the Obama and Holder gun store to let the FFL proceed with the transaction. The weapons he stole were owned by his mother.

It took police 10 minutes to arrive at the school. How many kids would've been killed with multiple 10 round magazines or firearms before the police arrived?
Banning objects just scapegoats the issue, let's find out the root causes of our excessive violence.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: impersonating common-sense

I love the part about putting the bibles into the school. Obviously you have never read the bible. There is more graphic violence in the bible then any obscene hollywood movie. The difference is, you believe in the purpose of the violence. How ridiculous.... A child does not learn by the words from a book. A child learns by the actions of others and the lead of those he/she follows.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: Step Up

@ confused about LaSenita

"When there is a need" means when there is a problem and the school calls 911.
Quite a few years ago, there was a grant written that funded a police officer for each school. La Senita was left out my mistake (so they say). And it has never been fixed. We, as parents, have tried to get answers as to why, but get the run around.
We have also tried to get the portable radar put outside the school for speeders.... In the 5 years my boys have been there I have not seen it at all.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: Dannies Joy

This is just a suggestion. I am sure there are many qualified Veterans who would be willing to donate some time to the safety of our children at school. Maybe the School Districts could put out a call for volunteers for Armed Security. This would include the Veteran volunteers be required to complete a mental evaluation and a current certificate of completion of a firearm class to be renewed annually, much like the requirement of "continuing education" for other employment. Details such as cost for evaluations and certifications, type of firearms approved, could be outlined the School Districts. This would surely help the budgets of the School Districts.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

our hospital is loaded with volunteers, so why can't people volunteer to protect our children? I would be the first in line if they would take me and there are many of us trained in the use of fire arms....if it came to that.
The arguments on gun control will solve absolutely nothing except getting photo ops and looking presidential....if that is possible.
Do something right now and start getting people to help and even business people and corporations. All of us have or had kids in school and I will bet if we even kept our over bloated government out of it, we could get it done.
If it would bring all those kids back, I would turn in all my guns and most would, but that is not going to happen and we all know it.....19000 laws on the books on gun control and it hasn't changed a thing, maybe it is time to try something different and NOW.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

To lighten the mood. Just when you think you have heard it all, up pops Dem. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. In a radio interview she dismisses any idea of teachers being armed, and calls for retractable steel walls for schools as a solution. LoL. She seriously needs to put down the crack pipe. Must be nice to represent a district where there is never the chance you would ever lose an election.


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