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Amherst School Committee to Address Gun Safety at Tuesday Night Meeting

AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – The Amherst School Committee will meet Tuesday evening. On the agenda, a statement on firearms safety that caught our attention.

Western Mass News wanted to know more about the subject of this statement.

This meeting is scheduled to begin virtually Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. Prior to the meeting, the committee released a draft resolution regarding school safety. This comes a week after the fatal shooting at an elementary school in Texas.

The draft said, in part:

“The presence of armed school resource officers has not been shown to reduce firearm incidents or violence in schools…while student and school safety is improved through initiatives that support school climate, including cultivating social and emotional learning and student health.

He went on to say:

“Be it resolved that the Amherst School Committee commit to the following: to continue indefinitely not to use School Resource Officers (SROS) in all of our schools; ensure resources are available to continue to provide mental health supports to students.

They also said they would provide mental health first aid training to staff, as well as training in safety protocols such as lockdowns and shelter-in-place. They also said they would work to provide resources for families and caregivers surrounding child and teen mental health and safe gun storage.

We reached out to Amherst School Board Chair Allison McDonald to learn more about the district’s commitment not to employ school resource officers, as well as what will be discussed Tuesday night.

She told us in part, and I quote:

“At its meeting tonight, the committee will consider a resolution reaffirming this commitment as well as a commitment to continue other current district practices that support the academic success of our students as well as overall safety and well-being. “

McDonald also clarified that the Amherst School Board is only responsible for the town’s elementary schools. Middle and high schools are the responsibility of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, which is not involved in Tuesday night’s meeting.

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