At least a dozen states now allow school districts to decide to arm teachers in order to protect the lives of their students. In all of these cases, the decision to carry a firearm — or not — is up to the individual teacher. No one is obliged to strap on a six-shooter before the first bell in the morning, as so many opponents seem to think.
Those who choose to carry, depending on each state’s specific requirements, must first pass background checks and undergo training before being allowed to carry in class.
After hearing of the manifest failures and bungling that led up to and worsened the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Parkland commission that investigated that debacle voted 13-1 to allow teachers in the Broward County Public Schools to arm themselves.
As we’ve tragically seen, time and again, when the worst happens, police are at least minutes away. Or casually forming a defensive perimeter while children and teachers are dying inside.
This is what Parkland commission member Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said:
“We have to give people a fighting chance, we have to give them an opportunity to protect themselves,” Gualtieri said. He said there aren’t enough officers or money to hire one for every school, but even then officers need backup. “One good guy with a gun on campus is not enough.”
But parents in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Tamaqua are so opposed to their school district’s decision to allow armed teachers that they’ve decided to sue.
Tamaqua school board members “endangered their community” when they approved a “manifestly illegal” policy to give weapons to teachers and other school employees, according to a lawsuit filed by three parents and a grandparent.
“A teacher’s role is to teach,” Holly Koscak, one of the plaintiffs, said Friday at a news conference. “We should not be putting those extra roles on a teacher when it’s out of their scope.” She said her daughter, a sophomore, is “very anxious” about having armed teachers in school.
Yes, well teaching is certainly a teacher’s primary role. But what if the nightmare scenario should, God forbid, ever come to Tamaqua Area High School (go Eagles)? How would Ms. Koscak suggest instructors protect her anxious daughter then?
The teachers union had already filed suit to overturn the policy. …
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, says its members “overwhelmingly reject” proposals to have them carry guns in school. Using the hashtag “ArmMeWith,” some teachers have taken to Twitter to express their opposition.
Because as we all know, hashtags work so well against those bent on death and destruction.
I said this almost a year ago. I stand by it. #ArmMeWith school supplies. #ArmMeWith more money. #ArmMeWith people in Tallahassee & DC who can determine logical educational policies. #ArmMeWith a supportive school board. #ArmMeWith current technology. Don’t #ArmMeWith a weapon. https://t.co/XeyGjLHsmW
— Sarah Lerner, CJE (@mrs_lerner) January 6, 2019
Pennsylvania’s governor also opposes districts allowing their teachers to carry firearms.
Pennsylvania education officials said they are not aware of any other district with a policy of arming teachers. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is opposed to the idea.
“The Wolf administration has maintained that school districts may only authorize trained school police officers and school resource officers to carry firearms around students in our schools, should the school professionals feel they need it,” education department spokeswoman Nicole Reigelman said.
Tamaqua was the first Keystone State district to decide to arm teachers with guns. But they weren’t the first to tackle the problem of protecting their charges. That was most likely the Blue Mountain School District which, back in March, just after the Parkland shooting, placed five-gallon buckets of rocks in their schools’ classrooms.
There’s no word from Governor Wolf, the NEA, or Ms. Koscak on whether they’d find that option problematic in Tamaqua, too.