On Monday, January 29, 2013, the Senate held a hearing over the issue of arming teachers to prevent a repeat of what recently took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Superintendents from three smaller districts came to testify on their views for allowing guns in schools – specifically elementary schools. A representative of the state associations of superintendents and school boards said school districts are unique and should be allowed to decide the proper precautions on a local basis.
The Dallas Independent School District chief of police, Craig Miller, had a different stance on the matter arguing that arming teachers to serve in place of trained officials is a bad idea. According to an article in Abilene Reporter-News, he has worked on 750 murder investigations in his 30 years with the Dallas Police Department, and he strongly opposes the idea stating, “I don’t want to see a teacher put in that position. I think anytime you have a situation like Sandy Hook, I think we all the sudden want to take a knee-jerk reaction.”
One of the big supporters of keeping schools gun free is Students for Gun-Free Schools in Texas. They question whether schools will actually be safer as well as welcoming and inviting for students while guns are on campus. They ask people to consider these five main reasons that guns should be kept out of schools:
1. Concealed handguns promote a healthy learning environment.
2. More guns on campuses would allow for more risk for students.
3. Criminals would not be discouraged by concealed weapon permit holders.
4. The permit holders may not always be law abiding citizens.
5. The staff who would be allowed to have the weapons are not required to undergo law enforcement training at their schools.
The topic of allowing teachers to handle guns is fairly new. Discussion at the hearing stayed general and no legislation has been introduced just yet, however, this should be one of the more interesting topics to follow as the legislation progresses.
By Rian Worm