Friday, October 06, 2006

Has The Time Come For Pistol-Packing Educators?

With the recent uptick of gun violence in our public schools, some are asking if the time has come for school employees to pack heat:
MADISON, Wis. -- A state lawmaker, worried about a recent string of deadly school shootings, suggested arming teachers, principals and other school personnel as a safety measure and a deterrent.

It might not be politically correct, but it has worked effectively in other countries, Republican Rep. Frank Lasee said Wednesday.

"To make our schools safe for our students to learn, all options should be on the table," he said. "Israel and Thailand have well-trained teachers carrying weapons and keeping their children safe from harm. It can work in Wisconsin."

In Thailand, where officials have been waging a bloody fight with Muslim separatists for the last two years, some teachers carry weapons for self defense as they are viewed as part of the government. In Israel, teachers are not allowed to carry weapons in the school, but security guards at the entrances are armed.

Lasee said he planned to introduce legislation that would allow school personnel to carry concealed weapons. He stressed that it would hinge on school staff members getting strict training on the use of the weapons, and he acknowledged he would have to work around a federal law that bans guns on school grounds.

The director of school safety for Milwaukee Public Schools, Pete Pochowski, opposed the idea.

"Statistically, the safest place for a child to be is in school," Pochowski said. "We have problems in our schools, but not to the point where we need to arm our teachers and principals."

Last week, a 15-year-old Wisconsin student was arrested in the shooting death of Weston Schools Principal John Klang. The criminal complaint said the teen brought guns to school to confront students, teachers and the principal.
Lasee said on CNN this morning that arming teachers isn't the "only answer" to addressing the problem but is only a part of the solution. Presumedly, schools would also beef-up measures designed to prevent armed intruders from entering campus in the first place.

Many are voicing their opposition to the idea:
Here, here, here, here, and Lasee's hometown newspaper, over there.
See our latest EduPosts here and this date's Extra Credit Reading there.