Letters to the Editor

Don’t make teachers carry guns on school campuses | Letter to the Editor

Activists share opposition to arming school teachers

Protect Our Public Schools Manasota hosted a panel on school safety Tuesday evening, highlighting its opposition to SB 7030 and arming teachers.
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Protect Our Public Schools Manasota hosted a panel on school safety Tuesday evening, highlighting its opposition to SB 7030 and arming teachers.

Students at any school should be able to feel safe from attack by armed persons bent on violence. Same goes for teachers and other staff. Unfortunately this cannot be assumed, and various remedies have been suggested. One, with both preventive and confrontational aspects, worries me: armed teachers, i.e. “guardians.”

This solution has some advantages. Teachers are always on site. The “targets” are like extended family, not mere strangers. Permanent professional help can scarcely be expected from police and sheriff’s departments; and another full-time school employee would cost the school board much more than training and equipping a few teachers. Schools may or may not currently have willing volunteers, and proposed state legislation doesn’t require armed teachers.

However, schools will likely promote this unproven but relatively economical way to buy protection and will at least pressure new teacher candidates towards accepting “guardianship.” One could bet when hiring a new employee, the one least resistant to being armed would be the first hired. Military skills should not become a teaching credential! Can the state forbid this?

How might a guardianship work? A villain might be deterred by not knowing what opposition to expect. But most civilians are loathe to be the first to shoot. (Obviously some aren’t.) If a guardian paused just an instant, he or others could be dead. If he shot too soon without seeing clearly, he might hit some desperate innocent person. If he makes a mistake, what are the legal consequences for him?

After all, teachers should RECEIVE safety, not be required to PROVIDE it.

Arlene Filsik

Bradenton

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