Teachers weigh in on carrying guns on campus


Gage Fordham

While the campus currently has a zero tolerance for guns, alcohol, or tobacco, a nation-wide question of arming teachers is gaining attention. Local authorities put any question of arming personnel on campus to rest, with Principal Dr. Hancock pointing out, “Our role is to guide, lead and inspire students.”

President Trump wants to pay teachers more to carry a firearm, even as gun control is still a debate across the nation. Some schools and universities are considering arming their  faculty and staff members.

Welding instructor Rob Story (faculty), has a concealed carry permit and carries his firearm for his protection. Due to school system policy, he has to leave his firearm at his house. When the teachers and administrators were asked their thoughts on the idea of arming staff, they had different responses.

Story said, “I think it’s safe. I think it’s a good idea.”

Ronnie Rich (faculty), criminal justice instructor, has a different opinion from Mr. Story.

“In general, I’m not in favor of it,” said Rich. “However, there are teachers on the campus who have law enforcement, military, and firearms training backgrounds; for those teachers, I’m at ease with [their] being armed. Having said that, they would need to undergo continual qualifications just like law enforcement does and also need to get training in shoot/no-shoot scenarios, and would stay quarterly trained with that.”

Naill McCarthy, data journalist with Statistica, Inc. , illustrates the findings of national polls concerning public opinion of the idea of arming educators. The research represented here was conducted last spring by the Pew Research Center. Their polling found that 55 percent of the public were against arming teachers while 45 percent favored the idea. Majorities of parents and non-parents also opposed the concept while a 66 percent majority of gun owners favored it.

National statistics concerning having armed teachers on campus show that putting more guns in school does not deter gun violence, but might stop an incident of an active shooter.

Principal Karen Hancock  just wants students to feel safe at school.

“I think that at this moment in time, I do not feel teachers in our building are at a point where that could be a discussion,“ Hancock said. “I think that adults understand the severity of that. I personally am not in favor of being armed, but our role is to guide, lead, and to inspire students to the next level of what they want.”

Although the idea is up for debate, allowing local teachers to carry arms on campus does not seem to be in the future.