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Opinion: Parents need to be educated about gun safety

Original post made on Jul 8, 2022

New parents enroll their children in PAUSD every year, and they need to be regularly informed of what they can do to keep children safe in our schools and in their homes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 8, 2022, 7:03 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Julie Lythcott-Haims
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 8, 2022 at 11:35 am

Julie Lythcott-Haims is a registered user.

This issues has never been more urgent. Thanks for your leadership on this.

I'm particularly struck that "As recently reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, firearms are now the leading cause of death in children." Also that nearby school districts have already done what you're asking PAUSD to do. Generally speaking, I'd like to see Palo Alto lead, not just follow. But on this issue we're lagging. So, let's do this.

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 8, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Local Resident is a registered user.

Thank you for proactively advocating to make our community safer through common sense easy to implement suggestions. I'm disappointed that legislation has to be passed to get the school districts to communicate regularly and clearly on gun safety. Schools already hold active shooter drills and work on suicide prevention. Where do they think the guns come from? Answer, usually students homes. Locking up your guns and restricting access is common sense. Also, many shootings can be prevented with red flag laws. Even in Palo Alto some folks own guns and its not as rare as people imagine. Also, one correction. The Palo Alto ordinance states a firearm must be locked up, or kept on a person when in the home at all times.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 8, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Thank you so much for laying out what can be done to prevent tragic gun violence events from happening in Palo Alto. The actions proposed about red flag laws and parental responsibility for keeping firearms away from children are simple and common sense solutions. How many recent gun tragedies could have been avoided had these measures been adopted?

Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2022 at 12:50 pm

Alice Smith is a registered user.

Before a child goes to another home to play, the parent should ask the hosting parent: if you have a gun in your home, is it locked away and is any ammunition stored. If the other parent doesn’t answer or refuses to, invite their child to your home but don’t allow yours to play at the other home. It isn’t safe.

Posted by Palo Alto Res
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Palo Alto Res is a registered user.

Don Austin constantly states he is a leader and PAUSD is a leader for all to follow. PAUSD has yet to be a leader in gun storage safety. We're still waiting PAUSD. How much longer must parents wait? Until a student dies of gun violence in PAUSD? Will it have to come to that?

Posted by Anonymous PAUSD alum
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Anonymous PAUSD alum is a registered user.

Thank you for clearly and concisely laying out the actions PAUSD can take to keep our students safe. Don Austin and Ken Dauber, take note.

Posted by A Reader
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2022 at 1:27 pm

A Reader is a registered user.

Thank you all for leading the charge on what should be an obvious win for the health of Palo Alto kids. As you point out, firearms are **the leading cause of death** in the US for people below the age of 19. The school regularly warns about nut allergies, but not simple gun safety? We can do better as a community.

Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2022 at 3:14 pm

Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

1 - if a state notification law is pending, it seems sensible to wait for it and make sure to follow it, rather than figure out your own approach (which might not fit the law)

2 - it seems pretty roundabout, using schools to notify gun owners about a city law that doesn't involve schools. Don't gun owners have to register their guns? If so, shouldn't the CITY send a notice to all gun owners telling them about the law? Or perhaps the city should just send a notice to everyone.

3 - I don't know how many homes have guns and school children in Palo Alto, but this seems more like virtue signaling than public safety. Of course, it's easier to agitate about problems like this than take on the ones we actually see every day (e.g., failure of the PAUSD schools to effectively teach low-income Black and Hispanic students).

4 - Car accidents cause more child deaths than firearms (2020 excepted, I believe) - will this group be coming up with a notice reminding people of the child car seat laws as well?

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 9, 2022 at 11:19 am

eileen is a registered user.

Why does PAUSD have to be responsible for telling gun owners how to store their guns safely?
Many of the very parents you want to reach will not hear this message or care!!
This is a POLICE and CITY responsibility!!
Every registered gun owner should get a YEARLY (or more) visit from law enforcement to make sure they comply with the laws!! You are constantly scaring kids instead of actually making the schools and city safe! GET the guns OUT OF OUR CITY and make sure EVERY GUN OWNER is known by law enforcement!! Also, the school should spend tons more on mental health and child wellbeing!!

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2022 at 11:36 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Parents who own guns need this message. Those who do not own a gun should teach their kids to come home whenever a gun appears in another person's home.

It makes no difference to non-gun owners to learn safety facts. Guns are not safe is the only safety lesson. Perhaps that lesson should be taught in schools.

Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 9, 2022 at 3:16 pm

Concerned Resident is a registered user.

This article does not state that safe gun storage and red flags should only be discussed by PAUSD in Palo Alto, or that PAUSD should ignore other major child safety concerns. PAUSD already informs parents about using car seats, driving safely, not idling when you pick up your kids, and childhood vaccinations, for a few examples. Talking about safe gun storage and Gun Violence Restraining Orders (red flag laws) should be added to that list.

Additionally, PAUSD will not be only entity talking about safe gun storage in Palo Alto. PAPD is working on a communications plan around safe gun storage that will be launched later this summer.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 9, 2022 at 4:13 pm

eileen is a registered user.

What is happening here is the normalization of gun ownership. Instead of working hard at trying to get rid of guns in our city, we are teaching our children that it is no big deal that Johnny's family has a bunch of guns. It's ok, just make sure they are locked up! What a crazy world we are allowing and teaching our kids to accept! Hey kids, make sure Johnny's parents lock up their AK14 before you let your kid have a play date! I would teach, hey if you have friends and their parents have guns, stay clear of them!!

Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 9, 2022 at 9:21 pm

Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

@Eileen, sorry to hear you are so intolerant, so as to want to shun families (including their kids) with different beliefs than yours. Retreating into our tribes - and shunning and shaming people outside them - is the bane of the current age.

I don't have guns, but I welcome as friends people who do, though I might ask them why they find it useful or necessary. @Eileen, even with your intolerant streak, I would welcome my kids to be friends with yours, and both would have a chance to learn something.

Posted by Palo Alto Res
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 10, 2022 at 10:36 am

Palo Alto Res is a registered user.

@Eileen (I believe from your past posts you are not even a parent of children or teens at PAUSD) but as a parent I want to remind you that many parents have playdates in their homes. If a parent does not store a gun properly, boys (maybe girls) can easily play with guns and play "good guy/bad guy" or "cops and robbers" or any new fad game involving guns and stumble across a real gun and use it in their play. A parent sending their child to a playdate may not even realize the other parent has guns in the home.

@Eileen this is not an article about gun control. It's a nonpolitical stance on gun control. This article is about storage of guns in a safe manner to ensure children and school safety.

@ Palo Alto Resident in Downtown North
This is not virtue signaling nor a roundabout way of teaching parents about a city bylaw. This is already a Palo Alto City ordinance and law in the City of Palo Alto. This involves safety of children and play. Surrounding districts have already taken committed to sending out letters to educate parents on safe gun storage.

Do you think a teen with mental health issues accessing guns and bullets at home would not bring it to school and harm teachers or students?? This has been historically happened in the USA.

If you do not know how many parents or grandparents in PAUSD have guns at home then don't speak on virtue signaling. This may be liberal California, but there are people with guns at home in Palo Alto.

Re: Cars, car seats - again red herring

Re: Black and Hispanic students and achievement gap (Red Herring argument really)
PAUSD is all about the achievement gap. Every Board meeting and every curriculum change is about this achievement gap. This is all they talk about at the Board meetings. Stop your Red Herring argument.

Posted by Palo Alto Res
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 10, 2022 at 10:45 am

Palo Alto Res is a registered user.

Let's not pretend PAUSD parents do not own guns. California is liberal and Palo Alto is somewhat liberal but there are indeed PAUSD parents with guns and bullets at home.
Is it possible there are teens or children who may see a gun at home and 1) play with it with another child or 2) take it to school or 3) pretend shoot or really shoot someone with it?

let's not bury our heads in the sand here. Why does PAUSD dig their heels in at sending home a yearly letter or email regarding safe gun storage? Our schools are committing to this? Whats the big deal PAUSD? Are there Board members or is the Superintendent a gun owner who hates gun control laws and somehow believes sending home a letter on safe gun storage is about gun control? Let's not mix things up.

Safe gun storage education letter to parents educating them on safe gun storage is something that California State Superintendent of Public Instruction has asked school boards to do

Gun control laws is something completely different. Whats the hesitation Don Austin? Why the reticence on sending out a yearly letter that the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Tony Thurmond) has asked districts to do??????

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2022 at 11:09 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

If you're a gun owner in Palo Alto (or anywhere) you should already be educated in gun safety. If not, do you really think you'll get through to them?

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2022 at 7:34 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

@eileen and others - I'm not aware of any requirement to register one's gun in CA. The website
Frequently Asked Questions | State of California › firearms › pubfaqs
states "There is no firearm registration requirement in California except for assault weapon owners and personal handgun importers."

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