A school district in a generally rural section of northwest Tucson, Arizona is asking the parents of high school students and junior high school students to pledge never to use guns or violence to resolve problems.
The “Student/Parent/Principal Contract for Eliminating Guns and Weapons from School 2013 — 2014” was part of the Flowing Wells Unified School District’s registration packet for the upcoming school year, reports the Arizona Daily Independent.
Second Amendment advocates see the terms of the contract — particularly the ones set out for parents — as a patronizing attempt to govern behavior in private homes.
Parents who sign the agreement promise to teach high schoolers “how to settle arguments without resorting to violence” and to tell their kids to report “guns and weapons they see on campus to an appropriate adult” at school.
The contract also has parents saying, “I will carry out my responsibility to teach my children how to settle arguments without resorting to violence, and to encourage him/her to use those ideas when necessary.”
Exactly what “those ideas” are is left entirely unexplained.
The contract also states: “I will teach, including by personal example, my teenager about the dangers and consequences of the misuse of guns and weapons, and I will keep any guns I own under lock, away from school grounds and away from my children.”
The “under lock” requirement has raised particular local ire. The state of Arizona has an open-carry law. While public school campuses are among the places where open-carry is prohibited, it is not unusual, especially in rural areas, to see people carrying guns. Hunting is also popular. The school district even has its very own junior rifle team. Consequently, some parents are hesitant to sign a contract agreeing to lock guns away from teenagers at all times.
An image of the contract — on putrid bright green paper — is on display at the website of Gun Owners of Arizona, a statewide pro-gun group.
In addition to parents, Flowing Wells Unified is asking students themselves to sign the contract. School principals will also sign the document.
District officials assured the Daily Independent that parents and kids who refuse to sign the unilateral, non-negotiated contract will suffer no negative consequences.
It’s not clear what negative consequences violators of any signed contract would suffer beyond the penalties for breaking existing state laws that have nothing to do with the contract.
Administrators said that only two parents have voiced concerns about the contract so far. One father signed the document but then, after giving it some thought, asked for it back. There are no details about the other parent.
The Flowing Wells superintendent, David Baker, said the contract was written years ago. (It’s not clear how long it has been in use since it was initially created.)
“It is important that people understand the district in context,” Baker said. “We have great parents and kids.”
His big goal, he said, is to keep unwanted guns off campus. Baker also said that 150 students from the district are Junior ROTC members. He added that he doesn’t think school bureaucrats need to teach local parents how to raise children.
The district has seen no reports of guns on campus or gun violence at a school in recent memory, according to one staffer who has been with the district for a decade.
The state of Arizona is no stranger of anti-gun paranoia in its public schools. In February, a freshman at Poston Butte High School made the mistake of setting a picture of an AK-47 as the desktop background on his school-issued computer. (RELATED: High-school freshman suspended for having a picture of a gun)
The incident occurred not too far up the road from Flowing Wells in Tan Valley. The student, Daniel McClaine, Jr., found the image on the internet and liked it, partly because he is interested in serving in the military after graduation.
At the time, district policy stated that students could not use school-issued laptops to send or display “offensive messages or pictures.”
A teacher reportedly ratted McClaine out after noticing the Soviet-era rifle on the computer. The boy originally received a three-day suspension. However, after McClaine’s father contacted the local press, Florence Unified School District officials suddenly decided that the younger McClaine could return to school immediately.