More school violence; teachers look for gun training

After things have cooled down regarding the Connecticut shootings, what is the aftermath? Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor says he believes that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting was a factor in a boy plotting terrorism there, against fellow students and a teacher. Derek Shrout, a student at Russell County High School and self-proclaimed white supremacist, was in count Monday for a hearing. Taylor says, “Shrout was apprehended after a journal was found by a teacher and turned over to the authorities.” According to authorities, the journal of Shrout contained several plans that were said to look like a series of terrorist attacks. With the attacks, six students and one teacher were specifically named. Shrout says he is a white supremacist and five of the six students were black leading Sheriff Taylor to believe these were terrorist attacks being planned. Shrout tried telling investigators that the journal was a set of fictional writings that were not meant to be carried out. Several small tobacco cans and two other larger cans were found during a search of Shrout’s home. Pellets and shrapnel were found inside the cans were along with holes for a wick. “Shrout was a step or two away from creating live grenades. It was obvious that he had put a lot of thought into this. It was obvious to us that there was more than just writing a story in a journal and it being fictitious,” said Tayor. Taylor thinks Shrout may have been influenced by the Newtown, Connecticut shooting after the first journal entry was made just three days after Sandy Hook. Shrout’s attorney told reporters he thinks that the authorities are overeacting to the case. Other classmates of Shrout say his desk was covered with symbols of white supremacy, such as swastikas and slogans about “White Power.” On Monday, Shrout appeared in front of a judge in an Eastern Alabama Courthouse and pleaded not guilty to his charges. Shrout’s bail was set at $75,000. With that in mind, what are teachers and school faculty members in schools across the country doing to try to increase classroom safety? In Texas and Ohio, teachers are swarming to gun training courses. Gerald Valentino says “any teacher who is licensed and chooses to be armed should be able to be armed. It should be every teacher’s choice.” Co-founder of the Buckeye Firearms Association, Valentino helped create a three day class on gun training with no cost. Instructors in Texas were offering a class to teachers for no cost with only 400 spots available. One instructor said the class filled up immediately and a decision was made to offer more. The Buckeye Firearms Association is a highly successful organization that started in 2005. Valentino said, “It doesn’t make sense that we guard our gold with guns and we guard our children with hope.” Whether or not teachers will be able to be armed in the classroom will always be a topic of ongoing argument, but good things are being done now to increase the safety in schools around America.