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What they’re saying: The Uvalde, Texas, school shooting

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Flags were ordered to half staff.(WFSB)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 11:36 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT
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(WBAY) - Statements from Wisconsin leaders and candidates on the shooting that killed 19 children and 2 teachers at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school on May 24, 2022. They are provided here, unedited, in no particular order. We’ll add more statements as we receive them.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)

Wisconsin Superintendent Jill Underly

“The painful fact that gun violence and other societal challenges continue to spill into our schools requires me to engage in issues that extend beyond traditional school policy. The education of Wisconsin students and the safety of our children and educators in our schools must be addressed - not tomorrow, not next month, and not after the next loss of life. Every day is the right time to protect the lives of children; the day after a school shooting is already a day too late.

“Today, tomorrow, the next day and until our children are safe, I call on all levels of government to enact policy to reform gun laws in our state and our country.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay)

“This is an unspeakable tragedy and my heart breaks for the students, faculty, and families of those at Robb Elementary School. Today, the entire nation mourns with the Uvalde community and is grateful for law enforcement officers who responded to this senseless act of evil.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers

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U.S. Senate candidate Tom Nelson

“Freedom is not worrying about whether or not your children make it through the school day alive or not. This madness must end.

“From Texas to New York City to Laguna Woods to Buffalo, mass shootings have shocked the conscience of this nation over recent weeks. We must enact serious gun violence legislation that gets at the heart of this epidemic so we no longer have to live in constant fear of the next tragedy. It begins by dismantling the NRA and defeating politicians like Ron Johnson who empower them.”

Wisconsin Gun Owners Inc.

Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. (WGO) — Wisconsin’s only no-compromise gun rights organization — opposes calls by Sen. Chris Murphy for more gun control in the wake of the Robb Elementary school shooting. The shooting took place in Uvalde, Texas.

According to WGO, 30 percent of Texas schools have armed teachers and staff; However, Robb Elementary, where 19 students and two adults were killed, does not appear to be one. Robb Elementary is among most Texas schools subject to the Federal Gun-Free Zone Act, which prohibits concealed carry on the premises, according to the school’s own rules and codes of conduct.

“Thirty percent of Texas’s schools enjoy armed protection by teachers and staff, and this killer did not choose those schools as his target,” said WGO Executive Director Thomas Leager. “He chose Robb Elementary for a reason — and that is because it was unprotected.”

According to Leager, it was “another example of the dangers of sending our children to schools that are labeled Gun-Free Zones, which are really just Criminal Safe Zones. This tragic event is not a condemnation of the Second Amendment but an example of the dangerous failure of gun control.”

Leager added that Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. would continue to support the right of teachers and school staff to be armed on school property as both a deterrent and defense against madmen that would commit these heinous acts against the most vulnerable among us.

The state gun rights organization calls on teachers to approach the issue of self-defense from an educational viewpoint rather than a politicized knee-jerk reaction. With firearm education on par with police officers’ training — in Wisconsin, that is less than 40 hours’ classroom and range training — there is no reason teachers should not be equipped and prepared to defend their students.

U.S. Senate candidate Alex Lasry

Gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul

U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski

Attorney general candidate Eric Tony

Joey Van Deurzen, candidate for 5th Assembly District

My generation was prepared for events like what happened in Uvalde today. In elementary and middle school we were taught to huddle together with the lights out in a corner away from the door; as if the potential assailant would somehow believe that no one was in school today. In high school we were told to fight back. To barricade the door by whatever means necessary. To throw books and computers and anything else at the attacker. One teacher even kept a metal bar used for science demonstrations by the door in case the dreaded day would come. We were taught to be prepared for events that luckily we never faced.

Our society has put all the responsibility on the kids and teachers to protect themselves. We need to do better. We need to expand our gun laws to ensure that those flagged by law enforcement and mental health professionals cannot purchase these weapons. I say this as someone that grew up hunting and shooting guns, as someone that is a responsible gun owner. Yes, there are responsible gun owners, but this cannot mean that we ignore the reality and harms happening in front of us. We need to ensure each gun purchased involves a thorough background check. We need a mental health system that can find and treat all those that are a danger to themselves and others.

Students and educators need our support. It is time we step up to do what clearly needs to be done.

State Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison)

“As the mother of four boys, I can only imagine the tremendous pain and loss too many families across the country are feeling right now. Families and communities are being shattered by senseless, preventable gun violence.

“After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, we vowed that we would never let this happen again. And yet since the Sandy Hook massacre, we’ve let 2,654 mass shootings happen. We’ve let countless lives be lost due to preventable gun violence. We cannot accept mass shootings as normal or inevitable in this country—but we have made no significant legislative changes in response to this epidemic.

“America is a huge outlier in developed countries as it pertains to mass shootings. We have some of the weakest gun laws in the developed world. While Democrats have been working tirelessly for universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, and other pragmatic gun safety policies, the GOP – fueled by the gun lobby—has prevented so many of these policies from advancing.

“People are literally scared for their lives. They’re scared for their children who have to go to school every day. They’re scared to do day-to-day activities, from just going to the grocery store to the movie theater to even walking down the block. But their country, and the state of Wisconsin, is not doing nearly enough to keep them safe.

“I grieve all of the lives we have lost to these mass shootings. But we cannot sit idly by, only offering thoughts and prayers, when we need immediate action. We must do all we can to keep our kids and communities safe and secure from violence. It is past time to implement pragmatic gun safety laws in our state and country now.”

Sign the petition to call on our legislative leaders to take the first steps toward a safer Wisconsin and country by passing bills that are overwhelmingly supported by the public such as Universal Background Checks and Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Oconto County Sheriff Todd Skarban

Safe schools…

I ask my team to frequent our schools with random patrols. In and out, sometimes with canines, working in concert with the local police departments, not trying to distract but present enough for people to notice. We do our best to be in attendance or stop into as many sporting events that we can muster.

Many of us coach sports, from youth to varsity, actively engaged with our kids, offering education and guidance. Some of my best friends and loved ones are teachers and coaches from our #teamOC schools.

Our frequent, persistent presence is just one approach we take to discourage potential violent events. This action is done deliberately in an effort to decrease or eliminate the opportunity for a violent event and to have an immediate response to the same. We do not take the safety of our children or school employees lightly.

We do our best to identify, isolate, investigate and solve problematic situations. The message is out that if you see something, say something. The information you provide may make all the difference in the world.

Be the light, the cause of good in the world. All our love goes to Texas, God be with them in their time of need.

Kiel Police Chief David Funkhouser

THANK YOU KIEL

Time and again, when a crisis or tragedy has occurred in or involves people in our area, I have witnessed people in our community step up and help out in amazing ways. Monday was no different.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me, our officers, and staff expressing their gratitude and support during the bomb threat on Monday. We appreciate it, but it goes WAY beyond KLPD and the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office, and Calumet County Sheriff’s Office who helped us with law enforcement.The City staff (DPW, City Hall, etc.), the Kiel Fire Department, Kiel EMS, the staff at the Kiel Schools, local citizens, business owners (HUI especially), church groups, and so many more people stepped up to help each other and protect our kids.

Some things went well, and some things did not go well, but in the end, together as a community, we once again mitigated a serious situation by doing the best we could with what we had. Moving forward, we’ll work to fix what didn’t go well and reinforce what did. Overall, I am thankful to everyone who stepped up and helped out. I am truly grateful.

As I drove home Monday evening after a long and very stressful day, I passed a mom walking her dog with a baby in a baby backpack. The kid was smiling ear to ear bouncing on Mom’s back as she walked along. I saw kids on their bikes riding along Fremont Street heading for the park. I saw a line of people at Dairy Queen waiting for ice cream and a group of people enjoying their ice cream at the gazebo by the river. As I crossed the bridge I saw a Dad with his kids fishing at Veteran’s Park. When I made it home I was swarmed by my kids who hugged me tight and who were glad I was home safe. I watched the sun set over the beautiful skyline and gave thanks that the day was over and that the people and kids in our city were safe. I gave thanks that I live in this city and that I call it home.

I’ve said it before…There is no measure of darkness, only the absence of light.

When darkness comes, Be The Light. It’s dark in our city right now, but each of us can be the light in our own way. Please think before you speak and before you type. Our world is dark enough. Let’s bring some light to it.

It is an honor to serve this City.

Chief Dave

Beaver Dam Police Department

Hello Beaver Dam,

We wanted to write about the incident that occurred in Texas yesterday and how it related to us here in Beaver Dam and communities across the country. We are saddened and our thoughts are with the countless people that are now dealing with this senseless assault on the most precious segment of our population-our children.

Many of our officers have children right here in our own district. We have an interest in seeing that our schools are as safe as they can possibly be. Fortunately, we have an excellent relationship with the Beaver Dam Unified School District and our department works daily with the schools to identify and address any known security issue.

We have 3 School Liaison Officers that work full-time in the district during the school year. They are assigned to investigate any security threat inside the schools and use their connections with staff and students to identify and address those concerns. We are thankful that the school district allows us to have a hands-on approach in the schools.

Furthermore, every member on our department undergoes rigorous active-shooter response training. We have resources that can be at any district facility in minutes, if not seconds.

Our number one priority is to make sure our kids are as safe as they can possibly be. We are committed to working with the district to address any security threat and verify that all current safety measures that are in place are being adhered to.

We will have an increased presence around the schools as we approach the end of the school year, however, our marked squads try to be as present at possible at all school during the entire school year.

While our department does not have the ultimate authority in addressing physical security measures in the district, we do offer our input and recommendations. Any comments or concerns related to the physical security of buildings belonging to the school district should be addressed to them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this as we continue to pray for the people in Uvalde, Texas.

Lieutenant governor candidate Kyle Yudes

“The answer to protecting our children in school is not to have more police at the schools. Our law enforcement departments are already stretched thin. Posting more officers at schools will push the departments to have officers work more hours which will eventually burn them out. Law enforcement is currently struggling to fill positions. If we add more positions without the resources, we only add to the problem.”

With the tragic events that have unfolded in Texas, there has been a knee jerk reaction by many republicans to employ police at every school. Currently many departments are struggling to find officers to fill current openings. How will creating another position that many departments cannot fill help this situation?

The simple solution is to have a select number of educators and staff that are trained to properly use a firearm, and how to respond to an active shooter situation. These individuals will have a conceal carry and or a safe only they can access in the case of an emergency. The district would compensate these individuals for the added training and risk involved should they ever be needed.

We live in a day and age where technology can be applied to monitor all entry ways. Facial recognition and fingerprint locks can keep a firearm secure. To argue it is unsafe for a gun to be in a school under these conditions is no longer a valid argument. If we will trust an officer who is trained with a firearm, why can we not trust and educator or staff member who is trained? These individuals are already on the property and employed. There would be no need to hire more people to fill this role.

The last step to the plan is to make it very well known that select educators and or staff are armed. Anyone who enters a school with the intent to cause great bodily harm will be met with potential deadly force. When criminals know they will be met by a person or persons who are armed, they tend not to enter the area. A very simple and common-sense answer to a very real and disturbing issue. I encourage all school districts to explore this option. Our children are worth having this discussion.

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