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UPDATE: Jamestown school referendum defeated

Use Legacy Fund to bolster school security

North Dakota’s luck has held again. So far we haven't had a school shooting in our state. This isn't about taking anyone’s guns, arming teachers or mental illness. I don't want any parent, grandparent or friend sending children to school and end up having to identify them at a morgue. I want us to be proactive instead of reactive.

I propose all schools have their major entries fitted with bulletproof glass and metal detectors. If we can put these in our courthouses and the Fargodome to protect football fans and concertgoers, why not our schools?

Secondly, all classrooms should have bulletproof doors and a secure locking system. No child should have to seek safety under a desk or hide in a closet praying to be spared. Lastly, every elementary, middle and high school should have at least one resource officer. Although they will be part of the local police or sheriff’s departments, their salaries will not be a burden to the taxpayer. How will all this be possible? The Legacy Fund.

The fund has over $4.2 billion in principal and $5.4 billion in total assets, projected to be at least $6 billion by the next legislative session. Since inception, the fund has averaged over $500 million in principal per year and as of now is gaining another $60 million per year in capital gains. As of July 1, 2017, the assets could be tapped which the Legislature did, taking $200 million to balance the budget. Even though 15% of the principal can be used, I'm glad they aren't planning on touching it. But with around $1 billion in capital gains up for grabs, we've begun to hear proposals from our legislators.

Some want to use it for infrastructure or low-interest loans, and the governor would like to use some for government innovation. I think we should protect our number one asset, our children!

The rules for dispersion will have to be changed. The funds for the schools should be grants. All projects should be at no cost to taxpayers. This isn't a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s a kid issue. Shooters don't care about political party or if the victims are white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or Indian, they just want to kill!  

Naysayers will say it's too costly or can't be done, but they'll be the ones with blood on their hands when a school shooting happens. Will these proposals stop all attempts? No. But they will give our kids and teachers time and access to a safe area. Our rural schools are especially vulnerable. We have the funds, let our state lead the nation on how it should be done. Remember, proactive instead of reactive!

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