Teachers with Guns

Betsy DeVos: States should consider letting teachers carry guns in classroom

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says that states and localities seeking to protect schools against shooters should consider allowing teachers to carry firearms in the classroom. Arming teachers “should be an option for states and communities to consider,” Ms. DeVos told CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” in an interview airing Sunday night. She acknowledged that some educators have neither the interest nor the training to carry firearms, “but for those who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered … every state and every community is going to address this issue in a different way,” she said. Her comments came after President Trump suggested states consider allowing highly trained school personnel to carry guns in the classroom in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead. The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House would release a plan Sunday recommending states allow concealed carry for school staffers and raise the gun-buying age for certain firearms. Nineteen states already allow firearms in K-12 schools as long as the owner has permission from school authorities, while another five states permit any concealed-carry holder to bring weapons to schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There are a lot of states that are addressing these issues in very cohesive and coherent ways,” said Ms. DeVos. The education secretary’s stance pits her once again against teachers’ union officials, who have argued that increasing the number of firearms makes schools less safe and advocated for tougher gun laws. Ms. DeVos also stressed the importance of taking action on school safety. “There is a sense of urgency indeed,” she said.


Schools That Already Have Armed Teachers Show the Way for Schools That Don’t

School districts that already have armed teachers stand out as an example for what schools with “gun-free” designations can do to ensure student safety. For example, Fox 5 reports that Texas has 1,000 school districts, and approximately 170 of those districts allow teachers and school staff to be armed on campus for self-defense. These armed districts do not make news with reports of accidental shootings, students getting their teachers’ guns, or armed faculty committing crimes on campus. Rather, they enjoy not making news, as the deterrent of having certain teachers armed appears to make attackers think twice before striking. The Callisburg Independent School District, which is “about 85 miles North of Dallas,” has had armed teachers for about four years, and school superintendent Steve Clugston simply views it as part of what must be done to protect students. He said, “We’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect our kids and staff. We don’t want to be at the mercy of somebody that’s intent on doing harm.” He added, “We’re trying to put our teachers in a position to be better equipped to protect their kids. And I have complete faith in our team, that they’re willing to stand up and protect our people.” Fox 6 reports that Arkansas’ Clarksville School District took a similar approach following the December 14, 2012, attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. In 2013 KARK reported that the district could not afford to hire full-time security guards, so they “trained and armed a number of teachers and staff to become commissioned school security officers.” Teachers in South Dakota are being trained and carrying guns under that state’s “School Sentinel” program, and teachers in Utah have been carrying guns on campus for self-defense for over 15 years. On June 26, 2017, Breitbart News reported that a number of Colorado school teachers were enrolled in FASTER–Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response–so they can carry guns on campus for defense of themselves and their students. And there are numerous school districts with armed teachers in Ohio and other states around the country as well. So when President Trump pushes to arm “20 percent” of teachers for school safety, he is not pushing something unproven or untested. Rather, he is pushing something that has enjoyed demonstrable success in the states wherein it has been implemented.