At Issue: Is the so-called campus carry bill a good idea?


The Feb. 26 firing of Decatur High School media clerk Susan Riley by City Schools Decatur Superintendent David Dude sparked outrage from parents, alums and community members. After hundreds of Riley supporters posted messages on social media platforms Dude switched gears two days later and put her on indefinite paid leave.

He also said he would contract a third party to review facts and provide an “impartial investigation.”

Two weeks since this began little is known why Riley was initially dismissed, and even less is known about the impartial review. We asked if this is simply a misstep by a first time superintendent, or is it irrevocable? We also wondered if the elimination of a non-certified employee is symbolic of a growing school system moving from its folksy, hands-on past to a more bureaucratic professionalism?

Here’s what readers had to say:

I just read your March 5 piece on the situation that's blown up in CSD over the absurd firing of Susan Riley. In it, you reveal once more your blind propensity to sing the praises of our former superintendent—you refer her to here as "a genuinely revered superintendent." In reality, no one but the inner circle she promoted revered that woman. The blame for this mess rests squarely with Dr. Edwards and the reign of terror she perpetuated in her time here. Dr. Dude is an unwitting dupe who was handed a raft of her corrupt sycophants to continue her work, and they have screwed the pooch royally on this one. — Concerned Decatur Citizen

My husband and I moved to the city of Decatur in 1985 in our early twenties before having children. As we got to know folks that live here and began having children we looked at many school options but the staff and teachers we observed and community feel made City Schools of Decatur an easy choice. Their professionalism and dedication has always been there. I do not agree with your "folksy" description. If that is your way of describing a small school system supported and nurtured by the entire town while striving for the highest standards and opportunities for all of Decatur's children then I guess we are "folksy". Professionalism was never missing. What happened with Susan Riley was a terrible mistake and I think was a multi-layered mistake. I think a new superintendent, a relatively new and unimpressive human resources lead, and an abrasive and bullyish personality of a co-worker were the perfect storm that caused this mistake. The investigation will hopefully move quickly and professionally so that our city's beloved Susan Riley can return to the High School where she is needed. — Becky Smith

Mr. Dude's bureaucratic attitude is not something new within the City Schools of Decatur. During the time that our children were at the high school, we noticed a pattern of harassment from the administration towards teachers or individuals who reached out to their students. It was our impression that the administration preferred a set of rigid, adult-like rules and not an effort to be compassionate. They failed to understand that these students are still children who make mistakes. The public school system in general seems to be based on the assumption that all children come from nurturing homes and that all children are self-motivated and disciplined. CSD provided a good education for our children, but we always felt that the school majored in the minor issues of arcane rules instead of majoring in what was best for the student. — Scott Norman

As a former HS media specialist, the strange situation in Decatur School District over the firing of a media clerk has me baffled. There is something big here that we don't know. There should be a clear job description for the position and a pay schedule that applies to all media clerks. How does the superintendent get involved in firing a media clerk? Where were the principal and the media specialists? Why was the media clerk "counseling"? Who was doing her duties? Let's hope the Decatur School System has professional standards in place soon. The "folksy hands-on" approach didn't work here. — Sharon S. Garrison

The Georgia Senate on Friday approved and sent to Gov. Nathan Deal a measure allowing firearms on Georgia college campuses – a marked change from last year, when opposition of college administrators and others defeated the idea.

House Bill 859 allows anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun, concealed, onto a public college or university campus, except for inside dormitories and fraternity and sorority houses and at athletic events.

The Georgia House approved similar legislation last year as part of the so-called guns everywhere bill, but it was removed in the Senate after opposition by the State Board of Regents.

Critics then and now cite the danger of mixing guns with alcohol or students under academic pressure, as well as the risk of accidents.

“‘Campus carry’ would compromise the learning environment and change peer-learning and professor-student relationships,” Alexander Evans, a graduate student at Emory University, wrote in a recent AJC “Get Schooled” blog.

What’s different this year? Recent armed robberies at Georgia State and Georgia Tech, close to the state Capitol, and mass shootings like that last fall at an Oregon community college where 10 people died.

“When I wake up in the morning, headed to campus for 7 a.m. class, and get an email that there’s been an armed robbery on campus … I’m a pretty pro-choice person,” Georgia State senior Anyssa Williams told the AJC.

Campus carry supporters say carry permit holders pose little to no risk because they already have been fingerprinted and have undergone background checks.


Tell us why you think guns on campus is a good or bad idea. Send comments to