Thayer: Senate Ed. Committee does not go far enough

To the editor:

As usual, the democratic leadership in the Vermont legislature is not going far enough in protecting our school children.

The Senate education committee is moving forward with a bill S-138, a Education School Safety bill on safety measures. This bill only addresses a sixteenth of the larger problem. This is a very fluid situation. Senate bill S-138 calls for these measures for all Vermont public and approved independent schools, the bill includes these four key components:

  1. Options-based response drills; 2.) Adopt all hazards emergency operations plans; 3.) Access control and visitor management policy policies, and 4.) Behavioral threat assessments team.

I struggle with why this hasn’t already been going on in our school before now. I believe that some school districts are employing some of these measures on their own. This is about protecting our children, our future? I firmly believe that we must go a lot further and adopt measures that will bring immediate safety to every school, and the children and educational staffs

In June 2022, during my campaign for Vermont Lieutenant Governor, I proposed a simple five point safety plan and procedures for very school in Vermont, including private schools:

We need serious people working to fix this problem. I believe that to make our schools safe for all students and educators and staff, we must at a minimum adopt these measures:

  • Address the mental-health problems in our communities and stop kicking the can down the road. If a student exhibits mental-health issues and the parents won’t voluntarily submit their child to an independent evaluation, a second (and possibly third) licensed and trained therapist must evaluate the subject. This issue needs serious attention by serious people, and the current leadership isn’t doing the right thing. Change and adopt statutes to address these problems.
  • We should also take a good, hard look at the pharmaceutical drugs—especially ADHD drugs and antidepressants—that seem to play a big role in many school shootings and massacres.
  • Install metal detectors in schools in Vermont.
  • Install live surveillance cameras around every school across the state. New surveillance technology can detect firearms on a person or in a vehicle and lock down the school.
  • Place retired law enforcement officers and/or veterans in our schools as armed trained resource officers. We are now finding out that police officers stayed outside the Robb Elementary School in Texas for over 40 minutes, doing nothing to save the kids—in fact, aggressively preventing parents from entering the school and trying to save their kids. We need officers inside our schools to prevent this from happening again. Allow highly trained Educators and Staff to carry and conceal a Firearm.

Note to the Teacher Union bosses, get out of the way and start protecting our children and stop worrying about your bottom line. This problem is bigger then your union. Your “anti” action is killing our great little State. Moreover, law enforcement is part of the solution in this problem. 

The latest active shooter at a small Christian school in Nashville is horrific and sad, and my heart cries for the victims, their families and the entire school and Church community. The fact, no gun law would have stopped this girl’s actions. She was not on any mental health watch list, she had some mental health issues and was being treated for depression, but not enough for her medical provider to notify any governmental or law enforcement agency. Her own family where she lived did not witness any behavioral issues, nor did they know she had 7 firearms in her room. The family said they knew that she was experiencing some “adult medical issues.”

She purchased all 7 firearms legally over time. And no wait period could have stopped or deescalated the shooter’s actions. I don’t care about this woman’s sexual identity. She’s an American with a serious undetected mental health problem.

What could have helped or at least slowed her down are surveillance cameras around the campus perimeter with detection software to detect firearms that can lock down doors and windows of entry. Metal detectors would have sounded alarms. And well trained former law enforcement or veterans on campus watching for any threat. More gun control is not the answer!

President Biden’s words were irresponsible and quite frankly, insensitive and childish. Further, nothing he said or proposed would have stopped this or any of these horrible actions. Needless to say he and his Party had control of the Congress for the past two years and they did nothing! Criminals and the criminal elements do NOT respect gun control laws, they do not care about any of it. If they have a plan, they will get the guns by any means and carry out their craziness.

Gregory Thayer

Former Republican Candidate for VT. LT. Governor 2022

Rutland, Vermont

Categories: Opinion

9 replies »

  1. I would add that entrances need to be sufficiently hardened. It appears that the outer doors were locked, but she simply shot out the glass. There are bullet resistant films, as well as bullet resistant and bullet proof glass.

  2. And curiously… not a word about parental school choice. It always someone telling others what they ought to do and never letting them decide for themselves. Just more political noise.

  3. ? Most of the problems alluded to in the discussions about our state system for schooling arise because this is essentially a single provider for a diverse customer base. It’s very structure is the source of our disappointment. It’s like a Soviet bakery. Such a monopoly state business can’t possibly have satisfied clientele. If this were given back to the people, privatized, families would be unleashed to buy services when, where and from whom they want…that is, whatever best serves their kids. Teachers would be free to design their services to meet those needs.

  4. Right On! Mr.Thayer and may I add:
    This is what it’s all about. This is what they want people to believe. Especially the low information voter that lives on sound bites and is too lazy to seek the real truth. Gun Control is people control and the communist-progressives need to take so called “assault weapons” out of our hands so they have all the power and we can’t do anything about it. They can ram anything they want down our throats and “their police” and “their military” with their firepower can enforce their agenda. So not letting a good crisis go to waste they use these school shootings to disarm us. Limit the weapons we can use, the magazine capacity we can have, the amount of ammunition we can buy. BUT THE DIRTY SECRET, THE REAL REASON FOR THESE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IS THE OVER USE OF ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS. This is the real reason for the violence. The gun is only the tool used for the violence. However, it is the progressive/communists that created his monster. The progressive/communist politicians that want our firearms created the people that are committing the violence. They did this when they started to pass out ADHD medication like Ritalin to school children like candy. They would rather just medicate people than deal with them but the cure is worse than the disease. So why address the real problem when we can pass gun control and further our progressive agenda down the road. They create the problem then use it to take away our rights. Prior to the year 1975 there was never a mass shooting in any school in the United States. It was only since the Progressive/communists started medicating our kids in school to better control them. Adam Lanza the Sandy Hook murderer was on anti depressants. Although these 66 incidents only run from 1998 to 2011, I am sure there is more than enough information and statistics to correlate the use of psychotropic drugs with violence.

    1. School Stabbing – Medication for depression. 10/25/2011 in Washington a girl 15, stabs two girls in school restroom: one Is In critical condition.

    2. School Shooting. Zoloft Antidepressant and ADHD medication use. 11/7/2011 Alabama -14 year old kills fellow middle school student.

    3. School Shooting Meds For Depression and ADHD. 3/18/2011 South Carolina Teen Shoots School Official: Pipe Bombs found in backpack.

    4. School Massacre Plot. Prozac withdrawal. 2/23/2011 Virginia Teen Sentenced to 12 years in prison for Columbine Style Plot.

    5. School Hostage Situation. Medication for depression. 12/15/2010 in France 17 Year Old with Sword Holds 20 Children & Teacher Hostage.

    6. Bizarre School Incident from Zoloft use. 8/22/2010 in Australia a School Counselor Exhibits Bizarre Behavior: Became Manic On Zoloft.

    7. School Knifing/Murder Medication for depression and ADHD 4/28/2010 Massachusetts a Sixteen Year Old Kills 15 Year Old in High School Bathroom.

    8. School Shooter on SSRI medication in Finland On Sept. 23, 2008 a Finnish Student Shot and Killed 9 Students Before Killing Himself.

    9. School Shooting Threats Celesta Antidepressant use. 1/25/2010 in Virginia a senior in High School Threatens to Kill 4 Classmates: Facebook Involved, Bail Denied.

    10. School Hostage Situation. Cymbalta Antidepressant withdrawal 9/11/2009 New York. Man with gun inside school holds principal hostage.

    11. School/Assault Antidepressant use. 4/11/2009 California. School Custodian Assaults Student & Principal. Had manic reaction from depression medication.

    12. School Shooting Plot. Antidepressant use. 9/22/2009 in England. Two English School Boys Plot to Blow Up High School.

    13. School Bomb Threat. Medication for depression. 6/29/2009 in Australia Vexed Father Makes Bomb Threat Against Elementary School.

    14. Shooting Medication For Depression. 3/13/2009 in Germany 16 Dead Including Shooter. Antidepressant use. Shooter in treatment for depression.

    15. School Knife Attack. Treatment For Depression. 3/10/2009 in Belgium three dead in School Day Care. Two children and a caregiver.

    16. School Shooting Plot. Meds for depression withdrawal. 8/28/2008 in Texas 18 year old plots a Columbine style school attack.

    17. School Threat & Lock down. Lexapro use. 4/18/2008 in California a violent high school student shot to death on campus by police.

    18. School Threat. Antidepressant use. 3/202008 in Indiana a teen 16 years old brings a gun to school there is a lock down.

    19. School Stabbing. Meds for depression. 2/29/2008 in Texas a teen 17 year old girl stabs friend & principal at high school.

    20. School / Child Endangerment. Antidepressants 2/27/2008 in Canada “Wacky School Bus Driver Goes Berserk”, also involved painkillers.

    21. School suicide and lock down. Meds for depression. 2/20/2008 in Idaho a teen 16 years old] kills self at high school. Lock down by police.

    22. School Shooting. Prozac withdrawal. 2/15/2008 in Illinois 6 dead: 15 wounded. Perpetrator as in withdrawal from med and acting erratically.

    23. School Threat. Prozac antidepressant use.1/25/2008 in Washington. Student takes loaded shotgun and 3 rifles to school parking lot and plans suicide.

    24. School Shooting. Antidepressant withdrawal 11/7/2007 in Finland a student kills 8 and wounds 10 and kills self in high school.

    25. School Shooting. Antidepressant withdrawal 12/10/2007 in Ohio a teen [14 years old school shooter possibly on antidepressants or In withdrawal.

    26. School Suspension. Lexapro antidepressant use. 7/28/2007 in Arkansas a student has 11 incidents with police during his 16 months on Lexapro.

    27. School Threat. Wellbutrin antidepressant use. 4/24/2007 in Tennessee a young boy, 12, Threatens to shoot others at school.

    28. School Threat. Antidepressant use. 4/23/2007 in Mississippi a student arrested for making school threat over internet.

    29. School Shooting. Antidepressant use. 4/18/2007 in Virginia possible SSRI use. 33 dead at Virginia Tech.

    30. School Knife Attack. Meds for depression. 6/12/2006 in Indiana teen knife attacks fellow student.

    31. School Stabbing. Wellbutrin use. 4/12/2006 in Indiana a stabbing by 17 year old at high school, charged with attempted murder.

    32. School Hostage Situation. Antidepressant withdrawal. 11/28/2006 in North Carolina a teen holds teacher and student hostage with a gun.

    33. School Shooting. Antidepressant use. 9/30/2006 in Colorado a man assaults girls the kills himself.

    34. School Shooting. Celexa antidepressant use. 8/30/2006 in North Carolina a teen shoots at two students, kills his father. Celexa found among his personal effects.

    35.School Hostage Situation. Meds for depression. 3/9/2006 in France a young ex-teacher holds 21 students hostage.

    36. School/Assault. Zoloft antidepressant use. 2/152006 in Tennessee a teen attacks teacher at school.

    37. School Violence. Antidepressant use. 11/19/2005 in Arizona a violent 8 year old girl handcuffed by police at school.

    38. School Shooting. Prozac antidepressant use. 3/24/2005 in Minnesota 10 Dead, 7 Wounded: Dosage increased one week before rampage.

    39. School Violence. Paxil use. 10/23/2004 in Washington DC a young boy, 10 years old, has violent incidents at school.

    40. School Shooting Threat. Meds for Depression. 10/19/2004 in New Jersey an over-medicated teen brings loaded handguns to school.

    41. School Shooting. Paxil & Seroxat antidepressant use 9/2/2004 in New York: Student Shoots Teacher in Leg at School.

    42. School Shooting Threat. Antidepressant use. 5/31/2003 a Michigan teen threatens school shooting: Charge is terrorism.

    43. School Shooting/Suicide. Celexa use. 10/7/2002 in Texas a young girl 13 years old] kills self at school with a gun.

    44. School Arson Incidents. Paxil use. 4/12/ in2002 Michigan an unusual personality change on Paxil caused 15 year old to set fires inside high school.

    45. School Violence. Celexa antidepressant use. 1/23/2002 in Florida a violent 8 year-old boy arrested at school.

    46. School Shooting. Antidepressant use. 1/17/2002 in Virginia SSRI withdrawal mania: 3 dead at law school.

    47. School Hostage Situation. Paxil use. 12/10/2001 in North Carolina a young man holds three people hostage in Duke University President’s Office.

    48. School Machete Attack. Meds for depression. 9/26/2001 in Pennsylvania a man attacks 11 children and 3 teachers at elementary school.

    49. School .Stabbing. Antidepressant use. 6/9/2001 in Japan eight dead: 15 wounded. Assailant had taken 10 times his normal dose of depression medication.

    50. School Shooting. Celexa & Effexor antidepressants use. 4/19/2001 in California: Teen shoots at classmates in school.

    51. School Hostage Situation. Paxil & Effexor Antidepressant use. 4/15/2001 in Washington a teen holds classmates hostage with a gun.

    52. School Shooting. Paxil [Seroxat] antidepressant use. 3/10/2001 in Pennsylvania a14 year old girl shoots and wounds classmate at catholic school.

    53. School Hostage Situation. Prozac/ Paxil Antidepressant use 1/18/2001 a California teen 17 years old] takes a girl hostage at school. He is killed by police.

    54. School Threats. Prozac antidepressant use 10/19/1999 in Florida a teen 16 years old threatens classmates with knife and fake explosives.

    55. School Shooting. Luvox & Zoloft antidepressant use. 4/20/1999 in Colorado at Columbine High School, 15 dead, 24 wounded.

    56. School Shooting Threat. Antidepressant use 4/16/1999 an Idaho teen fires gun in school.

    57. School Shooting Plot. Medication for depression 1/12/1998 in Wisconsin Teen accused of plotting to gun down students at school.

    58. School Shooting. Prozac antidepressant withdrawal 4/12/1998 in Oregon Four dead, twenty Injured.

    59. School Violence/Murder. Antidepressant use.4/5/1998 in New York, Sheriff’s Deputy shoots his wife in an elementary school.

    60. School Stand-Off. Zoloft antidepressant use. 4/13/1998 in Idaho a teen 14 years old holds police at bay in school. Fires shots.

    61. School Shooting. Zoloft antidepressant use 12/101995 in South Carolina a 15 year old shoots two teachers, killing one, then kills himself.

    62. School Murder Attempt. Meds for depression. 3/4/1995 in California a young woman deliberately hits 3 kids with her car at an elementary school, laughed during the attack.

    63. School Shooting Related. Luvox use. 7/23/1993 in Florida a man commits murder during Clinical Trial for Luvox: Same Drug as in COLUMBINE: Never Reported.

    64. School Shooting. Antidepressants used 19/20/1992 in Texas a man angry over daughter’s report card shoots 14 rounds inside an elementary school.

    65. School Shooting. Prozac antidepressant use. 1/301992 in Michigan a school teacher shoots and kills his superintendent at school.

    66. School Shooting. Anafranil antidepressant used 15/20/1988 in Illinois a 29 year old woman kills one child, wounds five and then kills herself.

  5. who’s going to pay for all this? we have a lot of tiny schools with all kinds of infrastructure needs

  6. Hardening our school campuses while limiting entry and exit locations and placing retired law enforcement officers and/or veterans in our schools as armed trained resource officers is the Very First Step. Instead Montpelier is laser focused on red flag laws and pistol grips. Thank you Greg for laying our an actual action plan based on something other than feelings.

  7. Before I continue, let me say that this is MY response, and not that of the Chronicle: I am dismayed that people have forgotten that only a little while ago these security measures were not needed, even though access to arms was easier. The root of the problem, and what needs to be addressed if we want anything to get back to a better normal, is that children are radicalized to the point that they want to attack others. Turning schools into prisons or bunkers is not the answer, merely a symptom of the dysfunction of our times. Neither will demonizing the perpetrators of such violence do anything but justify in their minds the need for further violence.

Leave a Reply