Letters to the Editor

Instead of arming teachers, boost school security other ways

With regard to Mike McLeod's Jan. 10 letter, "Arm teachers, train them in close quarters battle," I have great respect for his experience as a former Marine Corps police officer, civilian police officer, and bodyguard.

However, to my knowledge, he has never been a classroom teacher. Yet, he continuously writes letters advising that teachers be trained and armed to carry weapons into the classroom. If Mr. McLeod could poll all of our Manatee County teachers, I believe he would find that most teachers are against this idea.

Teachers are already overwhelmed with the additional and sometimes unreasonable responsibilities that have been placed upon them throughout the years. Many are leaving the field. The number of college students who are choosing a teaching career has dropped to nearly half.

To add the additional responsibility of having to be armed in the classroom, in my opinion, would only exacerbate this serious problem of teacher flight.

Especially at the high school level, which has been my experience, I can also see many unintended negative consequences. For example a troubled 6-foot-2 male student outweighing a 5-foot-4 female teacher by 50 or more pounds could easily overpower her, seize the weapon, and turn it on her or his classmates.

I understand that special devices have been developed that when placed inside and above the classroom door will not allow the door to be opened from the outside, even if an armed intruder were to shoot off the existing lock. The installation of these devices makes more sense to me and would probably be far less expensive than hiring more than one armed guard to be on duty, which I agree would be necessary, especially in a large school.

The school system should look into this possibility as a less expensive and possibly a more effective way of keeping our students safe at school.

Carol Gazell