Debate Over Arming Teachers Continues As Gun Training Nears
Teachers have been responding in a big way to the Armed Teacher Training Program, says Jim Irvine with the Buckeye Firearms Foundation. âThe latest numbers just in are 759, over 700 of them in the state of Ohio.," says Jim Irvine with the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
I expected several hundred people to respond to this, but not the response that we have gotten.
The classes are still being developed and thereâs no timeline on when theyâd be offered yet. But Irvine says the gun right group decided to offer the three-day program to educators and school employees after the deadly shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut last month. He says itâs time districts reexamined âgun free zoneâ? policies, because he says they leave teachers, administrators and school personnel vulnerable.
Having a policy that helps someone achieve a high body count is a bad idea. Itâs a failed policy, and we need to get rid of that and put in place policies that actually work to lower our body count.
Though hundreds have signed up for the training, there are more than 150,000 educators, school officials and other personnel in the state of Ohio. And that training would not mean a teacher could carry a weapon into a school unless the district specifically authorized it. Damon Asbury with the Ohio School Boards Association says itâs too early to tell whether districts want to go that way.
The conversation Iâve heard by and large is that 'Just arming teachers may not be the most effective or even safest way to go about providing security.' Thereâs lot of pros and cons, Iâm sure, but weâve had school shootings in settings where there have been armed guards.
But Patricia Frost Brooks with the stateâs largest teachersâ union, the Ohio Education Association, says teachers shouldnât be forced into what she calls a dual role.
We arenât going to be there to be armed and carry a weapon and then be the academic leaders and do the teaching and preparing students for this 21st century skills.
The attorney general has said he supports having someone with experience and training posted in a school with access to a gun. But for now, Mike DeWine is talking up training his office is offering starting next week to school employees on how to prepare for, to stop, and to deal with a school shooting situation. âI think it really comes back to what that local school wants to do and I think the courses that weâre offering, frankly, are going to help that school better understand the nature of the threat. "I think once they get that information, theyâre going to be in a better position to make, as a community, a decision about whether they want someone actually in that school who has a gun who has been trained.â? Meanwhile, the attorney general says there are still about 50 schools out of around 5,000 that have not provided his office with floor plans for their buildings and required emergency safety plans. The AGâs office contacted those which hadnât complied after last yearâs shooting in Chardon, and then again after last monthâs tragedy in Connecticut.