Arming teachers sparks debate

Stephen Kleckner, Reporter

Should teachers be armed at school?

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As 2018 progresses,  so does the number of school shootings.  Since the beginning of the calendar year, there have been more than twenty, and the shooting in Parkland, Florida was a turning point in the discussion of whether or not teachers should be armed.  The state of Texas was one of the first states to take action.  According to a CNN report, Callisburg Independent School District started what’s known as the “guardian” program: a small force of volunteer school staff allowed to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds.  State lawmakers in Texas have also created a program to train and arm “School Marshals”, who would be teachers, principals, coaches, and custodians and others “ready to defend a school.”

The question lies where Big Spring stands on this issue.  Tristen Yohe, senior at the high school said he believes that this is something Big Spring High School should adopt. “Teachers here at Big Spring absolutely should be able to carry concealed firearms with the necessary training behind it.”

Heather Detwiler, math teacher, said, “Teachers should not be able to carry firearms. I would not trust other teachers with that responsibility, let alone myself.” Another reason Detwiler said she believes this is a bad idea is because, “I am very concerned that the students would then try to get a hold of the weapon.”

Dean Smith, English teacher, said that carrying weapons is not the answer to our problems. His solution is giving the teachers a weapon to restrain the shooter: a semi automatic modified paintball gun that shoots pepper spray and blinds the shooter in seconds. “I believe that this a better way to deal with this scenario if it happens, because teachers should not be given this responsibility because of the negative possibilities that could follow.” 

Superintendent, Richard Fry, who along with the school board would be the first to make this type of decision, said,  “Concealed carry, at this point, is not legal to do on school grounds. Training and what the training would entail is my foremost concern.” He also added that there will be “significant research on the proposal when the time comes.”