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From Left Field

April 15, 2013

By BOB SHRALUKA
    If arming the teachers and principals in Indiana schools is the answer, as some in the legislature believe, then why not arms the kids, too?
    If the nut with the gun shoots his way in on the south side of the building and the teacher/administrator/officer who's been trained and armed is on the north side of the building, well ... But if all the kids have guns, it won't matter where the nut enters.
    Okay, bad joke. A bad joke on a bad idea. Labeling a mandate for having a school employee armed in each school building a bad idea is being kind.
    School people are there to teach, to develop, to enrich young people. They're not in schools to be armed guards, to engage in gun duels. They have enough student problems without having to be packing a piece and being ready to engage a madman (or madwoman).
    Tthink about this one, too: You can train someone hours upon hours on end on how to use a gun, but you cannot train them to remain cool and calm under the unimaginable duress upon coming face to face with a person firing a gun. One can't train those types of emotions.
    Earlier this week, some rational thinking finally began taking over. The House Ways and Means Committee voted 16-7 to advance to the full House the bill that keeps the provisions for armed civilians in the schools, but allows school districts to decide each year whether they want to opt out. Even more rational, why not just drop the entire bill!

Common sense comes acallin'?
    Another bad idea — again, using the term "bad idea" is being kind — has been corrected by a measure authored by Matt Lehman, the Berne Republican who represents this area in the Indiana House.
    In their rush to adopt everything with the label "voucher" attached, Republicans in the Indiana Legislature a couple of years ago passed a bill that banned school corporations from selling an empty school building for a period of four years. Now how's that for the Republican mantra about keeping the the government off the backs of the public? Like, much better to let the building sit empty, pay taxes and upkeep on it, and tell potential buyers, 'Come back in four years."
    The idea was to make an abandoned building available to charter schools, the rationale being that public schools hate the charters and wouldn't sell them anything, even their old, smelly basketball socks.
    Well, shazam! It wasn't long before East Allen Schools closed the Monroeville elementary building for lack of numbers and the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese was ready and willing to buy it, the plan being to vacate its antiquated St. Joseph School building just a couple of blocks away. Ooops!
    During the current session, Lehman introduced a bill to cut the waiting period to two years and, more importantly, to allow a school corporation to request a 30-day waiver from the Indiana Department of Education to negate the two-year requirement. The measure was signed into law by Gov. Pence.
    For once, common sense wins out!

How 'bout a Hawaiian punch?
    You know what's the most puzzling, maybe even shocking, aspect of the Rutgers basketball coach — you know, the guy that made Bobby Knight look like a gentle soul — and that mess?
    No, not the fact that in this day and age a coach at a major university would still treat people like that.
    No, not that the people above him tried to smooth it over and hide it under a hardwood floor.
    No, not that the athletic director who allowed the coach to keep his job after first seeing the video is getting, upon his resignation, $1.2 million in salary, plus an iPad, car allowance and more than two years of health insurance coverage, and will be defended by the university in any lawsuits stemming from his performance as AD.
    No, not that the president DID NOT watch the video after being made aware of it.
    No, the most stunning part of it all is that one of those enormous, bulked-up players didn't punch the coach's lights out.

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