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Arming teachers is not the answer

As a 25-year secondary public school teacher (now retired), I have concerns about guns in the classroom.

The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) says on its website, “Law enforcement officers who respond to an incident in a school could mistake for an assailant a teacher or any other armed person who is not in uniform.”

They also point out that teachers are not mentally prepared to shoot to kill, and don’t have the frequent professional firearms practice required.

There’s also the problem of securing their firearm, illustrated by a teacher in Utah whose gun discharged in a lavatory on Nov. 11, 2014, at Westbrook Elementary, shattering the toilet and injuring the teacher with bullet and porcelain fragments (Associated Press).

Even teacher firearms safety instructors in public schools haven’t been successful.

On March 15, 2018, an instructor, who was a reserve police officer, accidentally discharged his gun at Seaside High School in California, grazing a student and hitting the wall.

On March 14, 2018, a school resource officer, a prior five-year police department member, accidentally discharged his weapon at a middle school in Alexandria, Virginia. If trained officers have such incidents, untrained teachers would have more.

And who will pay for the extra liability insurance? Taxpayers.

The Gifford Law Center on July 1, 2019, listed the 32 instances involving guns in schools between 2014 to 2019 as follows: Students saw a gun (32 times), gun accidentally discharged (14), gun mishandled during discipline (5), gun used in time of personal stress or conflict (10), gun brought to campus illegally (11).

A study by Texas State University that appeared in The Trace in July 2019 reported that in the 25 shootings in targeted schools, “None were brought to an end by armed staff, guards, or a police officer returning fire.”

This was also the case in Great Mills, Maryland on March 29, 2018, where a student shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and injured another student before dying. At first, it was inaccurately reported that the school resource officer killed the shooter, but the ballistics report later proved the shooter was killed by his own bullet.

On July 16, 2019, PBS reported a study in The Journal of Pediatric Medicine which said that in states where there were universal background checks, there were fewer child gunshot deaths.

This study points to a better way than arming teachers.

Frances Hugg

Hollidaysburg

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