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More News on Gun-Toting Texas Teachers


Students in the North Texas hamlet of Harrold spent the week wondering which teachers were carrying concealed pistols, The New York Times reports. The town’s school board approved a policy last fall to let teachers carry concealed weapons, with requisite training and licensing, to protect against school shootings.

Brian Siebel, a lawyer for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told the newspaper that the policy is not only unwise, but possibly illegal. According to The Times, a state education statute says "'security personnel' authorized to carry weapons on campuses must be 'commissioned peace officers,' who undergo police training." The school board counters that the teachers are exempt from this law, since they are not security personnel.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry supports the school board, telling the Associated Press last week that, “There’s a lot of incidents where that would have saved a number of lives.” Some parents are unconvinced. Traci McKay, who sends three children to the K-12 school of 100 students, wasn’t notified of the new policy until two weeks before classes started.

“I should have been informed,” Ms. McKay told The Times. “If something happens, do we really want all these people shooting at each other?”


In the majority of school shootings, the incident is over quickly and teachers would not even have time to react. This is more of a deterrent. In some rural areas, it could take too long for law enforcement to respond. If a shooter was going room to room shooting students like VA Tech, this could make a difference.

During the shooting at Pearl, MS a principal got his gun from his car and held off the shooter. He alone saved many lives. I personally do not want to be the one to carry the weapon but do wish someone at our very rural school had one ready and available to protest the students and staff.

I've mixed feelings about this.

In one sense, it reminds me of the "wild wild west," where everyone was packing. The grim possibility of a real "shootout at the OK corral" in the school cafeteria chills the soul a bit, too.

But I was in an urban school the last two years where we had to close and secure our doors all day, had to watch to be certain the outside doors were not "jarred" open, so as to admit an intruder, and were constantly dealing with gang graffitti in the restroom, drug sales in the hallways and on the school grounds. I felt as those I was under siege.
There were times I thought we might benefit from a little "vigilante" justice.

My attitude wasn't improved when I got assaulted by a student and administration refused to do anything about it and the NAACP accused me of "racism," saying I prosecuted (yes I did) solely because the student was black.

When the authorities refuse to protect you, what are you left with?

A question for Ms. McKay, who asked “If something happens, do we really want all these people shooting at each other?”

Ms. McKay, would you really prefer to have the "Shooter-on-the-Loose" be the only person with weapon(s), calmly executing defenseless students and staff, or would it be better to have him wonder if some trained and qualified adults might be shooting back?

(Those who agree with Ms. McKay and the Brady Center should not object to having a plaque above each door saying "Be sure: There are no guns in this building.")

Since all of the "shooter on the loose" incidents in schools that I have been aware of ended in the suicide of the shooter, it is pretty hard to see how the presence of more guns would be any kind of a deterrent. Having more guns floating around DOES make it pretty hard for law enforcement, when they arrive (or any inside vigilantes, for that matter) to know who they should shoot to kill and who they should decry a hero.

But the biggest consideration, first, should be to consider the increased odds of an accidental shooting with sanctioned gun toters as compared to the odds of facing a homicidal maniac.

Ms. McKay, although it is a horrible thing to have these types of incidents going on, I totally empathize with the teachers. I taught Special Education to Emptionally Disturbed adolescents, in a High School, in Boca Raton Florida years ago. I was only 27, 117 lbs and looked about 17 years old. I was threatened on a daily basis by very large, older young men, when I would have to tell them to sit down so I could teach. I agree in that situation, that my having a gun wouldn't have helped the situation, they would have simply taken it from me, and I probably would have been shot.I ended up leaving teaching for that very reason, I was fearful of working in that type of enviroment. I wonder how many good teachers, would reamain in their classrooms, if the administrations were allowed to keep posted "guards", who were well equipted to handle incidents of violence? How many students would be saved by this measure of protection? I'm not advocating this for all schools, but certainly, the inner city schools, where gangs roams freely, even with the electronic devices that are supposed to "stop" them from bringing weapons to school, might greatly benefit from such measures of protection.

Wendy--I cannot tell you how many points of disagreement I have with your statements. I presume you are now working far away from any environments in which there are "very large, older young men," and perhaps have decided not to have any children--as any male child would ultimately one day be an older young man, and there may be no guarantee of compliance when you ask him to do something. Certainly there would be no guarantee that your children would be free from all potential for emotional disability.

I don't know if you have been inside of an urban school lately--but most do have some kind of "guard" posted. I know of no one telling administrators that they are not "allowed" to do such a thing. Generally they are police officers. Whether they offer the "protection" you want is questionable. Certainly they are officers with the ability to make arrests if students have weapons, assault others, etc. In some districts they have been misused to do such things as handcuff students to furniture, etc. until their parents came to claim them, enforce dress codes and other school rules (cell phone violations, etc). To my knowledge, they are not very successful in keeping gangs, or anyone else from "roaming freely." The good news is that there are other means of teaching behavior and self-discipline that are far more effective--not only in inner-city schools, but in any school. The problem is that it requires a level of teacher collaboration that doesn't happen automatically, and it requires teachers to accept responsibility for working with student behavior--something that many prefer to see as the realm of "administration," or school guards. But holistic work in preventive efforts has a much bigger pay-off than trying to protect teachers and students from incidents of violence.

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Recent Comments

  • Margo/Mom: Wendy--I cannot tell you how many points of disagreement I read more
  • Wendy/Mom: Ms. McKay, although it is a horrible thing to have read more
  • Margo/Mom: Since all of the "shooter on the loose" incidents in read more
  • ADuck: A question for Ms. McKay, who asked “If something happens, read more
  • william Toth: I've mixed feelings about this. In one sense, it read more




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