Guns

Washington School District Considers Arming Teachers

| by Ray Brown
Two young men with guns in their pocket.Two young men with guns in their pocket.

A school district in Washington is considering arming some of its staff to protect students in a possible attack.

The Naches Valley School District is weighing its options as it looks into strapping its teachers with guns, according to the Yakima Herald. The question has been on the minds of school heads for a while, but now the question will be brought to the public in the Yakima area.

“Should we allow some of our employees to be trained and armed?" Superintendent Duane Lyons told the Yakima Herald. "We don’t have the answer to that yet. But we hope to have that discussion with the community and staff.”

Arming school staff became a popular concept after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, in which a heavily armed gunman walked into an elementary school in suburban Connecticut and killed 20 children and six adults.

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Since then, a handful of communities have embraced the idea of arming school staff.

In 2015, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma signed a law that a“[authorizes] the carrying of a handgun onto school property by school personnel specifically designated by the board of education” with special training, according to Breitbart.

But some say that having armed school staff only increases the danger, according to education experts Deborah Gorman-Smith and Michele McLaughlin.

“There is no evidence to support having civilians carry guns in schools and much that suggests such a move is more likely to lead to harm," they wrote in Time magazine.

Russ Moore, a school principal from New York, writing an opinion article in Education Week in 2014, said teachers shouldn't be expected to defend the school because they're trained to teach, not fight.

“Using a gun to defend yourself -- which thankfully, I've never done and hope I never will have to do -- in any situation is not to be taken lightly,” Moore wrote. “Most people would not have the nerve, rational thought or skill to do it on the spot. Providing stop-gap 'training' would not address the whole picture. You would be taking people who were trained to educate -- many of whom had most likely never owned or even fired a gun -- and transforming them into the appointed defenders of schools.”

But in Naches, Washington, a small town of about 800 people, one reason residents are considering arming school staff is because their town is 20 miles from the nearest city.

“Naches is way out there, so their response time is probably 20 to 30 minutes. For them it’s probably even more critical,” John Cerna, a superintendent at a different school district, told the Yakima Herald.

Sources: Yakima Herald, Education Week, Time, Breitbart / Photo credit: Lucio Eastman via Wikimedia Commons

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