With recent incidences of students bringing guns on school buses, Killeen Independent School District board of trustees candidates answered residents’ question about what action they would put in place to take control of that situation.
Four candidates vying for the Place 4 seat on the Killeen ISD school board gave their opinions Monday during a forum hosted by League of United Latin American Citizens Council 4297 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Killeen.
Board Vice President Terry Delano, who is unopposed for his Place 5 seat, was not on the panel.
Retired Staff Sgt. Brockely Moore said keeping students safe at school starts with parents teaching them about gun safety.
“We have to be the first teacher for our kids and train our kids to be obedient and disciplined and follow the rules,” Moore said.
Marvin Rainwater, who retired after 43 years with Killeen ISD, said in his 20-plus years as a high school principal, he’s “unfortunately” taken guns from students on campus.
“Those are random, random events. They’re unpredictable,” Rainwater said. “You could find two in one day and none for the next 10 years.”
Rainwater said he supports curriculum to teach elementary school students what guns are and how they can hurt people. He also said bus drivers should receive appropriate training on how to handle the situation and every staff member should be vigilant.
“I just don’t know a better way to do that and not make a bus a federal penitentiary where our students are very uncomfortable,” Rainwater said.
Candidate Aya Eneli said she agreed with both Moore and Rainwater, whose suggestions “make sense.”
“There needs to be some training in place and we do not need to make our buses penitentiaries,” she said.
Eneli also suggested looking to other districts who have been through similar situations to see what they’re doing.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “We are not the first district to have to grapple with these issues. We don’t have to spend a whole lot of money studying it. We need to go figure out what are some best practices, use common sense and implement it, but treat our children like children, not like criminals.”
Eneli also suggested equipping buses with video cameras and having aides on buses carrying elementary school students if the budget allows.
Lan Carter, a former educator, agreed and said it’s important for the district to have procedures in place to keep students safe without infringing upon their personal rights.
“Educate our parents, have that parent collaboration,” Carter said. “We have to make sure we provide a safe and nurturing environment (for) our children. They should not be afraid to get on the bus. We need to make sure they’re emotionally safe as well as physically safe.”