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Should teachers carry guns in school? - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Should teachers carry guns in school?

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TEXAS -

Almost a year after the shooting deaths of 26 students and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, the debate continues nationwide over arming teachers and staff with guns.
           
While supporters call it a necessary self-defense and deterrent measure, opponents fear allowing teachers to carry concealed guns will lead to more campus violence.
 
"It sends a bad message to students to think you can carry guns wherever you are, it's not," said Raschella Lampkins, Redwater, Texas resident.
 
However, parent Donald McGee of Redwater, Texas doesn't have a problem with it, as long as the staff is properly trained.
 
"They have to be able to protect themselves, and if they're going through a program and they're going to arm themselves at school, they're doing it to protect our children," said McGee.
 
Early this year, the Union Grove ISD board in nearby Upshur County enacted a policy to allow select, licensed and trained teachers and administrators to possess a firearm on campus.
 
It's the second district in Texas to enact such a policy.
 
State lawmakers began reviewing school security laws after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
 
Even before Sandy Hook, Texas law allowed school districts to permit the carry concealed weapons option, but in Cass County at Queen City ISD, Interim Superintendent Bobbie Wright would prefer to install an electronic security system if funding is available and add security gates.
 
She says arming teachers is not on the table.
 
"We just would not have it without community input, so at this point, it's not something we're considering," explained Wright.
 
Statistics show that one-third of the nations schools already have armed security.
 
In Arkansas, a state board voted in September to allow 13 school districts to continue using teachers, administrators and other staff as armed guards despite a warning from the state's top attorney that the licensing law they relied upon was intended for private businesses.
 
According to Texas law, a person must have permission from the school district to bring a concealed weapon on school grounds.
 
There's also a bill that's been approved that would allow school districts and charter schools to place an armed marshal on campus for every 400 students.
 
After 80 hours of training, the marshals could bring a weapon on campus.
 
Redwater ISD Superintendent Bob Wheeley says security is always on their minds, but they're still considering the pros and cons to all options.   
 
"If it's teachers your going to arm, a school marshal, or your own police force, its all about training and making sure people understand when force is necessary." said Wheeley.

Wheeley says he can see where small rural districts, like Redwater, may need marshals or armed teachers to protect students because police response might be too slow in a shooting incident.
 
Union Grove officials, for instance, fretted that the nearest law enforcement is 12 miles away.
 
But even in that scenario, Wheeley says there are drawbacks.
 
"When the police or sheriff's department comes and sees someone with a gun, they have to know who that person is because they are putting their lives on the line too," explained Wheeley.

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