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I had the privilege of joining Doug Fabrizio, a well known and respected radio host on NPR’s RadioWest show to discuss the topic of Arming Teachers. Joining us on the broadcast was Utah Representatives Curtis Oda (R) and Carol Speakman-Moss (D).
Last week in Taylorsville, Utah a Westbrook elementary school teacher, legally licensed to carry a firearm, accidentally discharged the gun in a faculty restroom injuring herself from the gunshot. This incident again brings the issue of arming teachers to the forefront. Utah as well as 17 other states allow teachers or adults to carry firearms into schools without any specialized training, and in some cases without the express permission of the school district.
During this radio broadcast you will hear from both sides of the issue: from representing a person’s 2nd amendment right to arm and protect themselves even within a school with little to no formal training all the way to banning or regulating the ability to carry a firearm into a school building.
As for me, I can’t help but to listen to both sides and say you’re both right and have valid points. However, having spent 9 years in a classroom teaching Security and Police Science in a career and technical education high school, and having done countless security assessments on schools, most teachers and staff members are not
candidates to carry a gun. That is not to say they don’t have the right to own and carry a gun as an individual, nor to say that they are not capable of proficiently operating a gun. This is to say that they (and most people) are not mentally conditioned and trained to operate a gun and act in the capacity required to engage a determined aggressor. Not to mention, their jobs are educators, that is what they should be concerned with being proficient at; not tactical protective measures to engage an armed intruder.
With that said, there are schools where, for various valid reasons, having an armed person on staff is a completely reasonable request. Its for this reason I say that structure must be provided around this issue, such as, but not limited to:
- The local school district needs the ability to determine if having an armed person on their campus is in their best interest. If that answer is yes, then;
- The state must provide a structure in which a school district can successfully screen, train, and authorize a person to not only carry the firearm but to act on behalf of the school in a life threatening duress condition.
- Individuals given this responsibility must be held in strict confidence to protect them, the school and the children.
- Ongoing re-certification of the individuals, again to act with deadly force in an official capacity for the school, not as a private citizen.
Whats your opinion? Where do you draw the line between personal protection rights and the rights to have well trained and qualified persons in charge of our children while they attend school.
Somewhere in the mix there is a real solution.