By Andrew Cluley
AAPS District News
Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Carol Kuhnke has upheld the Ann Arbor Public Schools safety policies. The ruling means the district’s policies prohibiting guns and other dangerous weapons remains in place. Judge Kuhnke granted the district’s motion for summary disposition of a case brought forward this spring by Michigan Gun Owners and Ulysses Wong.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says it’s a victory for the 17,000 students that attend Ann Arbor Public Schools. “The number one thing parents expect from Ann Arbor Public Schools, even before a quality education, is that we will keep their children safe,” Swift says.
School Board President Deb Mexicotte agrees. “The judge spoke decisively about what we had believed, based on long standing legal opinions about the school environment and how and by whom it should be regulated. We have a higher standard of care for our students that we willingly embrace and fiercely defend – that of maintaining the safest educational environment – an environment in which guns simply have no place,” Mexicotte says.
She adds, “We are grateful for Judge Kuhnke’s summary dismissal of the case brought against us, as it allows us to maintain that safe environment for our students, parents, staff and community members across our buildings and grounds without interruption and moving forward into the future.”
Kuhnke affirmed the district’s position that state laws limiting local units of government from prohibiting guns doesn’t include school districts. That’s because the statute specifically identifies local units of government as cities, villages, townships, and counties.
Attorney William Blaha also argued for the district that federal and state laws call for gun free school zones.
Pioneer 9th grader Sarah Lewis attended the hearing. She’s pleased with the ruling. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable being at school every day if I knew people had guns in the building,” Lewis says.
Lewis sang at the choir concert that was disrupted last spring when Ann Arbor resident Joshua Wade openly carried a handgun into Pioneer High School.
The attorney representing Michigan Gun Owners says he will appeal the decision. When that happens the case will go to the Michigan Court of Appeals.