Should teachers have guns in schools?
Following the latest school shooting on Feb. 14, in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump called for arming teachers, with proper training, during a meeting with state governors.
Local school administrators were contacted for their thoughts on that possibility.
School District 509-J Superintendent Ken Parshall commented, "We work closely with local law enforcement to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible for students, staff, and community members. We want our teachers to be really good at teaching and to focus on lesson planning, delivering high-quality lessons, and developing positive relationships with their students."
"I have full trust in law enforcement to help all parts of our community remain safe; including schools, restaurants, and neighborhoods. With this said, I know that school staff, parents, and community members across our country are troubled by the events at the school in Florida," Parshall said.
H.D. Weddel, co-principal at Madras High School, noted MHS has a school resource officer. "I don't know if carrying guns fixes things. The emphasis should be on relationships."
"We already have a police officer there with a gun, who has been trained to use it in a threatening situation. Everyone is looking for something to stop this mess. Everybody wants a simple answer, but any one thing isn't going to stop it," Weddel said.
"To me the answer is less about guns. It's about building good relationships with staff, students and the community," he added.
Culver Superintendent Stefanie Garber said she might consider the prospect. "Our world has changed so much! When I went to high school, students had guns in their gun racks in the parking lot and students didn't shoot each other; didn't even cross their mind," Garber noted.
"While I am not opposed to staff being armed, I would rather arm all of our students with strong, productive, loving families who put their children first, no matter what. The level of family dysfunction is so great, yet schools are expected to smooth over all the values or lack of values outside of school," Garber said.
"Sometimes it gets overwhelming to manage at the school level as the bulk of the responsibility now falls on the school. Over the course of my career, society has gotten to the point where everybody has a 'right,' but nobody has a responsibility. Mental health matters greatly and we try to fill that need as well; however it all boils down to security and love that comes from the family unit," Garber said.
"These mass shooters pick places that are vulnerable, schools, movie theaters, churches, etc. So, if arming staff makes us less vulnerable, then I am willing to carefully consider it. It would just be a band-aid for a much larger problem, however," Garber added.