Unfortunately, we’re not so sure how to answer that question anymore. The topics of school safety and gun legislation have moved to the forefront of public conversation once again after another mass public shooting — with the latest leaving 26 dead at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Texas law prohibits guns in schools unless the school has given written authorization. The Harrold (Texas) Independent School District recently gained attention for allowing its teachers to carry firearms. And according to the Associated Press, lawmakers in Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Oregon have said they will consider laws allowing teachers and school administrators to carry firearms at school.
So we asked our readers and Facebook followers: Is it a dangerous idea to allow all teachers and school personnel to carry concealed handguns in the classroom, or is it about time?
— Jayson Larson, editor
“I totally support the idea that teachers should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the classroom. A school district in Harrold is already doing it. Why not all?”
— Mary Ann Perryman
Absolutely — teachers should be allowed to have weapons in school.
— David Lang
— Connie Clark Haggard
I say it’s not a good idea ... (schools) just need better ways of safety at schools. At the school I attended, we had cameras and doors that stayed locked and you had to come in through the front door and check in before you were allowed to go through any other door.
— Tiffany Marie Short
We protect our other resources with arms. Why not our greatest resource: our children? No guns on campus means that anyone with a mental problem knows he can go in there and no one is going to shoot him before he finishes what he came to do.
— Nancy Eddy
I think that our schools should have teachers that are certified in concealed handgun classes and who have passed a psychological test ... to know they are stable mentally. We need to protect our children.
— Michelle Crocker
I personally do not want to be responsible for any weapon in my classroom. If the wrong person ever got their hand on it, other than the teacher, the outcome would be just horrific.
— Amy Guidry Wyatt
I’m certainly not a radical supporter of gun control, being a lifetime hunter and sportsman. But I do support a ban on gun shows, assault-style weapons and large ammunition clips. As far as arming our teachers, I think it is a terrible idea. They have enough responsibility now ...
— Richard Gunnels
I don’t believe that the teachers should be armed. They need to protect our children — not get in a shootout where the children would be in more danger. I think they should have trained, armed guards according to the size of the campus. The bigger the campus, the more guards.
— Tina Newton
I personally think Texas teachers are underpaid and have a rough time teaching our kids on the budgets we have, and I don’t think it should totally be up to them to protect our schools. I think that if you arm them, something much worse could happen — whether it is an accident or not.
— Chris “Spankie” Barnes
— Jared Bostic
Neither dangerous nor about time. All teachers aren’t stable enough to handle that responsibility. Too many state laws have hampered teaching already. Next, are we going to arm the highways to stop on-the-road shootings? ... Tragedies will happen, and gun control or more guns will not stop these killings.
— Ron Lazard
Not a good idea at all. Each school should have a police officer on duty — yes, added cost, but worth every penny. As for teachers carrying a concealed gun? Heck no! Teachers are already underpaid and overstressed as it is.
— Jason Hanson
I think that there should be a response team in every school made up of teachers who are trained to respond to an active-shooter scenario. I am a CHL instructor and firearms dealer, and there are some teachers that do not need to carry a gun. In my opinion the shooting test required to pass the CHL qualification is way too easy.
There should be a higher standard for a teacher to carry a gun in the classroom. The last thing I would want is for a teacher to accidentally shoot a child. I would support teachers carrying a gun in class if the school district mandated additional training.
— Jason D. Featherston
About time. Don’t mess with Texas.
— Diane Jones Bailey