OTHER VIEWS: Don’t make teachers armed guards

  • Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012 2:21 p.m.

We already ask a lot of our teachers. It would be too much to ask them to also serve as armed security guards.

The role of teachers has already moved well beyond simply educating our children. Teachers have taken on roles traditionally held by parents, social workers and law enforcement. We expect teachers to look for signs of abuse in the home, to give our children character education and sex education.

All these duties get pushed onto teachers because no one else is doing them, and it means less time and attention goes to actually educating children.

Asking teachers to undergo marksmanship training and serve as armed security guards for our schools would go too far. But that’s the aim of a bill pre-filed in the General Assembly. It would allow teachers who have a concealed weapons permit and can pass a marksmanship test to carry their weapons in the school in which they work.

The bill would also apply to custodians, clerks and other workers at schools.

The bill is aimed at preventing an incident like the Dec. 14 tragedy at an elementary school in Connecticut. Twenty children and six adults were killed at that school by a gunman who then killed himself.

It is true that the law preventing anyone at the school from possessing a weapon prevented anyone from stopping the attacker. It is likely that if someone at the school had been armed, the lives of more children and adults would have been saved.

But arming teachers and cafeteria workers is not the only solution.

We should put an armed school resource officer in each school. Many schools, mostly middle and high schools, already have such full-time officers. They are law enforcement officers who work in the schools. They assist the school and law enforcement in many ways, but one clear benefit is that they provide additional security. An armed resource officer at the school in Connecticut would probably have limited the bloodshed.

If we want to protect our schoolchildren, then we should be willing to fund at least one full-time school resource officer for each school. We shouldn’t just push another responsibility onto our teachers.

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