Despite all of this the local school board has not only allowed teachers to carry concealed firearms they have provided training, 40 hours worth, to the teachers who have decided to carry firearms to school. The school board has declined to release just how many teachers are carrying firearms and have also declined to name who the teachers are. This decision is supposedly based on the school boards contention it would release security details to possible attackers. According to many parents the school board made this decision with out proper notification and discussion with the parents.
Superintendent David Thweatt of the Harrold Independent School District says he studied the issue for two years while he filled his school with more than 100,000 dollars in state-of-the-art security systems. According to Superintendent Thweatt even with the new keyless entry, camera system, lock-down buttons and classroom telephones, Thweatt said he still could not have prevented a mass murder like the one in an Amish one-room schoolhouse in Pennsylvania in 2006 that left five girls dead.
The move by the school district is attracting attention not only across the nation but in other countries as well. The Republican governor of the state Rick Perry, has endorsed the idea. The governor is a staunch advocate of right-to-carry provisions and has advocated allowing licensed gun owners to carry them into places where they can currently be banned, such as college campuses, churches, bars and private businesses. Some in Texas do oppose the gun toting teachers including Texans for Gun Safety board member Linda Siemers who said teachers or students carrying guns around school "is a terrifying idea." The Houston Teachers Union has voiced opposition to the program and the Dallas Morning News has issued an editorial against the program as well.
I support concealed carry for properly trained citizens. I fully agreed with Barack Obama's quote in his acceptance speech just a few hours ago.
"The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals."While I can see some good in having armed personnel in schools, I believe arming teachers is not the answer. The odd thing is that when you combine the claimed security costs of $100,000 of equipment that has been installed in this particular school and the costs of training and liability insurance costs the school must incur then you could put an armed trained officer in the school for at least two years if not three. The liabilities don't end with the fact that a teacher could shoot someone or have their weapon taken away and used against them. What happens when a teacher feels threatened or uses bad judgment in when to draw and point a weapon at someone? Money that could have gone to education or to a certified, trained, and armed officer in school will go to the parents of the students who sue the teacher and school involved in the incident.
Law enforcement officers who attend 22 weeks of training and an additional 40 hours of training every two years get sued regularly for alleged excessive force complaints. I can see a lawsuit if not several as this program continues. Police officers go through psychological testing and extensive background checks in addition to all the training they receive. How many teachers would carry weapons if they had to go through psychological testing? How many would pass the tests? If someone fails a psychological test would you want that person teaching your kids with or without a concealed weapon?
I have spoken in this blog in the past about the cuts from the Bush administration which have all but removed federal funding for cops in the schools programs. President Clinton understood the need and included the program as part of the COPS programs which put 100,000 more cops on the streets and in the schools. We all want our children safe in schools however we must be reasonable and think through ideas before taking extreme measures which could backfire and create more problems than they are designed to solve.