Should Local Teachers Pack Pistols?
Teachers in Texas carry guns to protect students. Will pressure to do so swell in the Show-Me State? "Which teachers do have a firearm must be kept secret from students and fellow teachers, no exceptions."
One local gun advocate believes it indeed is possible for teachers to handle guns inside school buildings. But Wildwood resident Marc Perez said anyone who carries a firearm must assume a certain degree of responsibility.
"In a 'crowd' like a school for a teacher, a significant, professional and extensive additional training would be required for a teacher to carry a firearm. Once an intruder enters a school with the intent to do harm, the police are minutes away while the threat may begin within seconds. The math does not add up," said Perez.
He said there are instructors available with the proper credentials to give such training in the St. Louis metropolitan area. As a National Rifle Association (NRA) Certified Range Safety Officer, Perez also serves on the board of directors for the Missouri Sports Shooters Association.
Patch asked Perez if he was afraid innocent students would somehow get to such guns at school, and harm themselves or others. "Should teachers indeed have a firearm in school it must remain on their person at all times," was his response.
He said there are many ways to conceal a firearm. "Which teachers do have a firearm must be kept secret from students and fellow teachers, no exceptions."
Perez said proper education is the key to a successful emergency response program. "Students must not have the opportunity to gain possession of a firearm in school."
Regarding locking guns away in drawers and whether individual teachers who had those gun would have enough time to get to it to protect themselves and their students under intruder situations, Perez said no lock is 100 percent secure. "If indeed a situation came about which justified or required the use of deadly force, the firearm must be engaged quickly. Seconds count; there may be little time to get a key, place it in the lock, turn, open the drawer, remove the firearm and engage."
Some Texan Teachers Adopted Gun Protection Years Ago
Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged school districts to review their plans to ensure they are prepared to respond to incidents, such as the horrific shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday, according to an article published Friday in the Star-Telegram.
The article points to a tiny school district in northwest Texas where besides special locks and security cameras, an undisclosed number of staff members and teachers carry concealed handguns.
David Thweatt, superintendent of Harrold school district, told the reporter the "guardian plan,"—which drew international attention when it was implemented in 2008—definitely enhances student safety.
"Nothing is 100 percent. But what we do know is that we've done all we can to protect our children," Thweatt told the Star-Telegram reporter.
When Harrold representatives adopted the plan, it was the only known public school district in Texas and the U.S. that allowed staff members and teachers to carry concealed weapons. It was 20 minutes from the nearest sheriff's department station, which was a key factor. Thweatt told the reporter he knows of some other district that have since adopted similar policies, but declined to name them.
The article outlines how Harrold Board of Education members had to approve the measure. The guardian plan was researched for more than a year before the school board considered it, he said in the interview.
But Thweatt said he wanted to minimize casualties that could quickly increase while waiting for deputies. He didn't want a plan where you "lock yourself in your closet and hope that an intruder won't hurt you."
Still, the question on many people's mind: Are guns, kids and schools a good mix?
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