At a press conference, Dr. Nikolai Vitti talks about the DCPS investigation into Sharon Sanders. January 14, 2013.
By Paris Carerra
The superintendent of Duval County Schools Nikolai P. Vitti says teachers being allowed to carry concealed weapons on school campuses will not solve the problem of school violence.
Vitti says, “Simply putting weapons in the hands of a principal or a teacher or staff member does not necessarily prevent violence from happening. In fact, it could lead to more violence in our schools.”
Vitti says Duval County Schools are unique in that all high schools and middle schools are staffed with a trained resource officer. He says those officers are trained in using weapons but more importantly they understand how to diffuse situations that involve weapons. He believes if teachers are allowed to carry weapons on campus it could become problematic.
“It could lead to that weapon being taken by another student, by another adult. That adult could have a bad experience that could lead them to use the weapon in the school.”
Instead he feels preventive measures should be explored to prevent school violence, such as mental health counseling.
“What we should be talking about is additional intervention to social and emotional issues and mental health.”
He adds that training guidance counselors, parents, and teachers to identify potential red flags in students is a first step. He says understanding and identifying warning signs could help to reduce violence in school.
“When we do identify the warning signs, connecting that child to the right kind of help so that it doesn’t get to the possibility of a violent situation. It’s not a situation where you need more weapons.”