Vernon Students Widely Support Weapons Ban

Students at Vernon College, overwhelmingly, support the school's ban on weapons on campus.  The reasons seem to have more to do with how they make people feel, not how dangerous they are.

News of the incident at the University of Texas at Austin Tuesday, had Texomans talking about guns on campuses. Vernon students were no exception.

"Not inside campus," said Tramel Payne. "I think that's a bad idea, it's gonna cause more problems."

"If they're accessible," said Bryan Hart, "then there's the potential for a problem there."

"Absolutely not, this is a college campus," said Patricia Santiago. "There's no need for weapons, you're here for education."

Even those who attend classes at Vernon College's Skills Training Center tend to agree with the policy. That campus sits right next to the Wichita County Jail Annex. Four inmates escaped from that facility just last month.

"Even though that might have been an instance where it would have been useful," Hart said, "I still hold my opinion that they shouldn't be in school."

School officials said the college has recently revamped its security and emergency response programs. But, no one who could elaborate on it was available for comment Wednesday. Vernon's Dr. Gary Don Harkey did say the school is also spending a lot of money on security cameras and other equipment to help beef up security.

Not all students said they support the ban. "I believe it's a good thing to have the ability to protect yourself," said Vernon student Dylan Anderson.

But, overwhelmingly, those who spoke out do support the policy. One of the most common reasons given was that weapons make people feel uneasy. It's the reaction to the presence of weapons that many said worries them most.

Vernon College Dean of Student Services Dr. John Hardin said the policy just seems to make sense for the school. In his opinion, "it's always preferable not to have weapons on campus."