Teachers With Guns: Arkansas School District Arming More Than 20 Teachers and StaffJoslyn Gray
I have mixed feelings about guns: I’m not opposed to them entirely, but I am very much in favor of extremely stringent gun control laws that require extensive background checks. I think everyone who obtains a license to own a gun should have to go through a gun safety course.
I have friends who hunt, and eat what they kill. Sporting organizations like Ducks Unlimited do tremendous work preserving wetlands.
I’m not opposed to guns. But I sure don’t want guns in my kids’ classrooms.
Starting this fall, more than 20 teachers, administrators, and other staff in Clarksville, Ark. will be carrying concealed weapons in school. Arkansas allows school security guards to carry concealed weapons, so these teachers and staff will undergo 53 hours of training in order to be legally considered guards.
“The plan we’ve been given in the past is ‘Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,'” Superintendent David Hopkins told NBC News. But in the wake of school tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., the district decided, “That’s not a plan.”
Clarksville, a small town of about 9,200 residents, isn’t known for having a violence problem in its schools, but after parents voiced concerns about safety, school district administrators decided to make a change.
“We’re not tying our money up in a guard 24/7 that we won’t have to have unless something happens. We’ve got these people who are already hired and using them in other areas,” Mr. Hopkins told NBC News. “Hopefully we’ll never have to use them as a security guard.”
Arming our teachers feels like a bad idea on a number of levels, especially student and staff safety. But one of the most important concerns I have is that I want our teachers to focus on our children’s education, not function as part-time teachers and part-time security guards.
America’s public school teachers are already over-burdened with large class sizes, lack of supplies, staff cuts and pressure to perform on standardized tests. They’re expected to teach everything from math to manners, from social studies to social skills. Teachers are required to continuously update their training in their profession. Curriculum requirements change almost yearly. To ask teachers to do all that, and also act as competent, trained security guards is just not reasonable.
How would you feel about your children’s teachers carrying concealed weapons in the classroom?
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
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