Lex/Rich D5, Monday, Sept 26 Board Meeting

I am livid, disappointed, and confused about what I am hearing about Monday night’s board meeting. An upset attendee/adult/protester/whomever, I do not know her…was caught at the metal detector with a concealed firearm in her purse. She came in a group that was upset about the board, about what I really don’t know and don’t care. The Richland County deputy took it upon himself to tell her to go lock the firearm in her car and come back….don’t worry about it. She did, then she came back to participate in whatever it was she had to complain about. After participating, she left the building but hovered in the parking lot with unfettered access to her firearm until after the meeting, along with her group.

This is absolutely insane.

South Carolina has a zero tolerance for guns on school property. It is the LAW. Even if she had a CWP, that only means she knew better! If she is making these types of mistakes, she isn’t a responsible CWP carrier.  

Every parent, teacher, student, and administration employee knows better. After all the shootings we have had in the US in schools, how in the world does this woman get a pass? At a minimum, how was she allowed back in….just in case? Good Lord, why didn’t that deputy err on the side of caution instead of concern he might embarrass the individual?

If this had been someone of a different race, maybe age, maybe gender….I suspect the reaction would have been quite different. It does not take but one spitfire second of a temper for someone carrying to reach in and react. Intent or not, things happen. Regardless, I don’t believe INTENT is an element of this offense. The offense was the offense – a firearm on school grounds.

Where was the Richland SO in this? Where was the superintendent? Where was the principal of that school where the meeting was being held? Where was the board chair? Where were the people responsible for keeping my family safe in these schools, to include ME if I want to come to a public board meeting or visit my family during a reading time or assembly?

I will NOT be coming to a board meeting now, and any candidate that is NOT making safety a strong leg of their campaign is falling short of my expectations as a voter, a parent, a grandparent, a taxpayer.

I have lived in this area for three decades. My children attended and graduated District 5 schools. My grandchildren go there now. How am I supposed to feel they are safe when Sheriff’s Department Resource Officers, charged with protection of our schools and all its attendees, employees, and visitors, can ignore clear violation of a law that could have deadly consequences?  

Do any of our responsible officials really want to face the recrimination and fallout when their lackadaisical disregard for safety and law enforcement result in tragedy?

Gary W. Clark, Sr.

Cynthia Hope Clark

Lexington/Richland District 5 residents