On the mark

We applaud Nashua Board of Education members on Monday acting to approve a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) course on marksmanship that will involve air rifles.

The course will allow cadets, once trained, to shoot air rifles in the field behind Nashua High School North.

Maj. Brian Newton also addressed the board, and brought a drill rifle with him. Recognizing the political sensitivity of a program that will technically endorse guns on school property, Newton said officials should consider what truly constitutes a “deadly weapon.”

“A knife from the cafeteria, a screwdriver, a hammer all constitute deadly weapons if you have intent, so it’s not the item itself, it’s the intent,” Newton told board members.

“Please take emotion out of the equation and make a decision based on logic and reason.”

As some debate and disagreement continued, Board Chair Heather Raymond said she supported the cadets.

“We’re talking about some of our most responsible students in the district. These are kids who are voluntarily signing up for a very strict code of conduct and I think that we need to be respectful of that and really acknowledge that,” Raymond said.

The board then voted to approve the measure.

We understand some may disagree with this decision on the basis of opposing the idea of any gun – in any form – being on a school campus for any reason. They may believe this is creating an opportunity for an accident, or an act of violence on the part of a hateful individual.

These concerns are not without merit, but we support the board’s decision in this instance. The youngsters who participate in JROTC are, in the vast majority of instances, honorable and respectful. We believe they will use their air rifles in a safe and professional manner, while ensuring the weapons are not accessible to those who are not supposed to have them.