Medenwald: Carlson is disingenuous on school safety
In a recent letter and interview, House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, stated that the North Dakota Legislature is committed to addressing school safety in the 2019 session. While light on proposals for what should actually be done, he does...
In a recent letter and interview, House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, stated that the North Dakota Legislature is committed to addressing school safety in the 2019 session. While light on proposals for what should actually be done, he does state that both new laws and grant money for small schools should be a focus. It's a shame 2015 Al Carlson doesn't agree with the one we have today.
In 2015, the House had before it HB-1388, which was a pilot program to grant funds to small schools with less than 2,000 students to pay for resource officers. This bill would have translated to licensed peace officers in our small schools responsible for providing security and crime prevention. This seems exactly like the kind of grant money solution Carlson speaks of today.
Carlson voted against this bill.
Keep in mind that 2015 was before North Dakota was in the midst of a full budget meltdown, so it wasn't about the cost. The bill was sponsored by three Republicans and one Democrat, so it wasn't partisanship. This was three years after the tragic Sandy Hook massacre, so it wasn't a lack of awareness. It wasn't because he opposes pilot programs either, as evidenced by my increasing property taxes at the hands of the Legislature's latest pilot program.
Carlson's recent comments and timing smack of politics and not policy.
The job of a legislator is to pass laws and appropriate money with an eye towards the future. Saying we need to provide grant money to small schools in North Dakota now after voting against it in the past is an acknowledgment of failure. Or at least it should be if Carlson would admit such things.
We need more discussions about school safety, and on this we agree. This discussion needs to include teachers, parents and students alike. This discussion must also include an examination of the past and where the House has failed to find common ground. Without acknowledging past mistakes, we're doomed to repeat them.
Medenwald is the co-founder of Simply Made Apps and a candidate for the North Dakota House in District 41. He lives in south Fargo.