Texas School Shooting Highlights Differences in 1st CD Race

May 27, 2022, midnight ·

State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln and State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk
State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln and State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk. (Photos courtesy campaigns)

Reaction to this week’s Texas school shooting is highlighting differences between the two candidates for the open seat in Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District.

Republican Mike Flood and Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks agree on how tragic the school shooting was. But they differ in their ideas on policies to try and prevent such tragedies. Flood says there need to be more options for how to treat troubled young people, both in the health system and the juvenile justice system.

“Our justice system, not just for adults but for young people, has to have that same continuum of detention. So that if we find people that are acting out or present themselves as a public safety threat to themselves or others, then we need to make sure we’re using juvenile detention,” Flood said.

Pansing Brooks said there’s a need for detention in some cases. But she emphasized the need to fund earlier mental health treatment if schools discover a young person who’s potentially troublesome.

“What are they supposed to do at that point? Call the police and then the police are going to put them into detention? And where are we getting the programming? Where are we getting the dollars to make people better and to make sure that we can deal with and help people with mental health issues, not just lock them up and throw away the key?”

The pair also differ on the suggestion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that teachers should be armed. Flood said that should be up to local school boards.

“We’ve had a conversation in some of our local communities about doing this. I am someone who believes the school board at the end of the day has to make those decisions about how they want to secure their school,” he said.

Pansing Brooks called arming teachers a bad idea.

“I’ve talked to a lot of teachers , I’ve talked to different groups of teachers, and they don’t want to be armed. And can you imagine -- some of the teachers are half the size of their high school male students, and to presume that that would make things safer – it just doesn’t make any sense,” she said.

The special election between Flood and Pansing Brooks will be held June 28.