Sunday, January 6, 2013

Move to arm teachers picks up steam in Tenn.

By Donald Sensing

Move to arm teachers picks up steam in TN | The Tennessean |

Measures that would bring more police officers into schools and allow teachers to be armed appear to be gaining momentum among Tennessee lawmakers in the wake of last month’s shooting in Newtown, Conn. 
Several Tennessee lawmakers say they have drafted legislation that would encourage school districts to place at least one armed police officer in every school and would allow teachers who have undergone special training to bring their personal handguns into schools. 
And at least one city in Middle Tennessee is considering paying for teachers to take a gun training course."
This is a serious, sober look at this issue and is an excellent example of what issue journalism should be like. 

One excerpt:
“A teacher’s responsibility is to educate,” said John Hittle, a parent of children at West Wilson Middle and Lebanon High in Wilson County. “(Potentially shooting an intruder) is not what they are there for.”
Of course, quite so. We do not hire teachers to get into gun fights. But neither do we hire them to do this:
[Victoria] Soto, 27, used herself as a human shield when the crazed gunman began spraying the school with an assault rifle. The selfless teacher’s body was found in a closet where she brought her students to hide.
Teachers do "what they are there for" when the school day is proceeding normally. When a madman comes in shooting, nothing they will do then is what they are there for -- especially hiding from an executioner without even a fighting chance. 

School shootings are blessedly very rare. I do not think we taxpayers should compel, as a condition of employment, a teacher's utter defenselessness in case one occurs. Put a cop in every school and permit (though not require) qualified teachers who want to pack heat to do so.

Also on the paper's web site, an online poll:

As I have already posted, many (maybe most) Tennessee middle and high schools already have armed school resource officers on site