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5th-graders vote for guns in school

Posted By David M. Bresnahan On 06/28/2000 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A group of fifth-grade students here held a
mock trial and delivered a unanimous decision — that adults with
concealed firearm permits should be permitted to have guns in schools.

Students at the South Jordan Elementary School have conducted mock
court trials for the past seven years. Teacher Laurie Erickson explained
that the students selected the topic from a list of several presented to
them. The students asked members of the community to participate in the
trial and to offer their testimony on the subject of gun control in
schools.

Students took part as attorneys, judge and bailiff, while the rest of
the class members served as the jury.

Erickson said the students spent the past two weeks preparing
arguments and contacting witnesses to testify on both sides of the
issue.

Rep. Merrill Cook, R-Utah, was the star of the show. He told the
young jurors that he did not personally want teachers to have firearms
in school, but he also did not want to deny them their right to carry a
firearm if that is their choice and if they have a concealed firearm
permit.

Janalee Tobias, the founder of Women Against Gun Control, also
testified at the “trial.” Tobias spoke as a mother, and said she was
concerned about violence in schools, telling the students, “I want my
kids to be protected.”

She complained that gun-control advocates often use “their children
as props for gun control.” She said she was happy the students chose
such an important topic and asked such good questions on their own.

Three gun control advocates who want all guns banned from schools
testified. The students invited their own principal, Richard Allred, to
speak on behalf of banning guns in school. Jeremy DeWall, a sophomore at
Bingham High School, also testified against allowing in-school firearm
possession.

PTA President KaRynn Christensen, spoke in direct opposition to the
pro-gun Tobias. She told the students that as a mother, she was
concerned that a teacher with a gun might suddenly use it on a student.
She told them that she is also against using violent means to stop a
violent person.

In the end, the student jurors declared Cook and Tobias the winners
in a unanimous decision.

Court is still in session. Before the week is over the fifth-graders
will decide on whether to drain Lake Powell, and whether to do chemical
testing on animals.


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