Fearlessly leading from the rear…
After the Republican-led Michigan legislature passed S.B. 59 – the so-called guns-in-schools-and-daycares bill — the Huffington Post asked anti-teachers union group StudentsFirst if they supported this legislation that would allow the carrying of concealed weapons in schools.
It’s a fair question, right? If they truly DO put students first, a dubious claim at best given how they treat the adults who spend their entire day with our children, educating them and watching out for them, you’d think they would want to keep guns out of their classrooms.
It’s also a fair question because, of the 22 people that StudentsFirst endorsed in the November election, 16 are in office and voted on the bill and only one, Democrat Phil Cavanaugh, voted against it. Here is a list of the 15 Republicans that voted for it:
- Anthony Forlini (District 24)
- Ray Franz (District 101)
- Tom Hooker (District 77)
- Holly Hughes (District 91)
- Brad Jacobsen (District 46)
- Andrea LaFontaine (District 32)
- Pete Lund (District 36)
- Lisa Lyons (District 86)
- Aric Nesbitt (District 66)
- Margaret O’Brien (District 61)
- Mark Ouimet (District 52)
- Deb Shaughnessy (District 71)
- Jim Stamas (District 98)
- John Walsh (District 19)
- Ken Yonker (District 72)
So, what did StudentsFirst say when asked if they supported weapons in our classrooms? Basically, they said, “…ummmm, uhhhh, well…”
Asked about its stance, StudentsFirst spokeswoman Ileana Wachtel said, “StudentsFirst believes that schools have to be a safe haven for kids. It is incumbent upon our elected officials to ensure that every single child is protected, particularly those under the care and direction of our public schools.”
Asked whether that means the group supports or opposes the concealed-carry expansion, Wachtel said, “We’re focused on education reform policies. That’s what we do.”
That’s bold leadership right there, eh?
But wait! Just a couple of hours after Governor Snyder vetoed the bill, the Ohio state director of StudentsFirst, Greg Harris, tweeted this:
Michelle Rhee: "StudentsFirst must publicly oppose legislation that would bring firearms into schools, anywhere." http://t.co/bwTzISDA
— Greg Harris (@edpolicy) December 18, 2012
It turns out that Michelle Rhee, head of StudentsFirst had, in fact taken a strong stance on this legislation, releasing a memo (that very morning!) saying that she had “come to the conclusion that StudentsFirst must publicly oppose legislation that would bring firearms into schools, anywhere [including] opposing SB 59 in Michigan.”
Such bold decision-making! How odd that they kept it to themselves until two hours AFTER the Governor actually had vetoed it.
Several minutes after Harris’s tweet, Rhee herself tweeted this:
— Michelle Rhee (@MichelleRhee) December 18, 2012
So, they have the vast majority of their endorsed anti-teacher candidates voting FOR concealed weapons in Michigan schools but they come out against it themselves once the dust has settled and they know which side is the “right” side to be on.
Why anyone thinks StudentsFirst has any credibility at all is beyond me. They are a bunch of self-serving ideologues that are out to privatize our public education, destroy our public school systems and line the pockets of their for-profit Big Education corporate benefactors.
[CC photo credit: Terry Alexander | Flickr]