If a student comes to school with a gun or other weapon, chances are good that other students know about it, says Judy Hale, the president of the West Virginia Federation of Teachers. The problem, Hale says, is that students don't have anybody they believe they can talk to.
Hale made her remarks Monday in front of a legislative subcommittee formed last month after two teens killed themselves and 13 other students in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Her answer to what seems to be a serious communication problem between students and adult authorities: Hire more counselors. It's an idea that makes sense, if only because there are so few of them now.
A spokesperson for the state Department of Education said that statewide there's only one counselor for every 2,000 students. Many of those are bogged down with paperwork, according to state Sen. Larry Edgell, who's also a fifth-grade teacher in Wetzel County. The lone counselor there is too busy filling out required reports to see children, Edgell said.