Issues in education: Arming Teachers in Pa

01.17.13 | Bob Price

Dr. Ralph Kerr with the Teaching and Learning Institute talks about the dangers in arming teachers


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 01.17.13 John Smith commented

I listen to the pieces that you contribute to FLN on a weekly basis and I normally am in agreement. Today though with your stance on how to protect our children you are completely wrong. Let's think about this for just a few minutes. Of the mass murders that have taken place in the last 20 years they have all occurred at "soft targets". Schools, places of higher education, churches... all places that these individuals expect very little resistence. These people don't try these attachs on police departments, sporting goods stores, gun stores, or anywhere else that someone may try to defend themselves. So, your opinion is to leave our children unprotected. There is a school district in Texas that has successfully trained a number of their teachers and administrators in the use and concealment of handguns to protect the children that they are responsible for. The notion of carrying concealed is that no one knows you have the handgun. These employees are not allowed to disclose that they are one of the armed few. If we were to meet you wouldn't know that I have one. The shooting in Conn. was over in a matter of minutes, the police couldn't have gotten there in time, but and armed teacher or administrator who is already there. Yes, there is a risk of missing and hitting an innocent bystandard, but everyone killed in Conn. was innocent.

So your stand is: Leave the sheep without a shepard.

That is an irresponsible stand to take sir.

John Smith

on 01.18.13 Michael Theesfield commented

I heard yesterday's topic at noon. I'm sure the pluses and minuses would vary from locale to locale; I favor allowing armed school staff, but I don't feel dogmatic about it. However, accepting for the sake of argument that Dr. Kerr's position against armed school staff is the right one, I feel that some of the reasons he gave for this position are questionable.

I'm having to guess context here, but I gather that it was for reasons of liability and possibly competent and responsible firearms handling that Dr. Kerr expressed concerns about the firearm being stolen by a student, accidentally hitting an innocent bystander, or failing to shoot when doing so might have saved an innocent person.

I submit that the gun isn't even the issue in the case of liability, but rather the point of vulnerability resulting from the real issue, which, if Dr. Kerr addressed it, it wasn't aired: Lack of tort reform. As to competence, I could see some legitimate concern here except for the fact that Dr. Kerr was opposed even to retired law enforcers being hired for the job.

And speaking of law enforcement, the police also have had instances of shooting an innocent bystander, failing to shoot when they should have, and failure to retain one's weapon (often fatal to the cop); yet no one suggests any of these things- or the liability concerns- as a valid reason for doing without police.

He also implied that it would be ineffective to have armed staff unless you had every door guarded. I submit that this erroneous. It's a well-known fact that burglars will avoid targeting a home where they believe the resident is home and has a firearm. A school building is a lot bigger than a home, but even a single armed defender is going to give pause to anyone who is- by definition- cowardly enough to target unarmed children.

Again, you have the comparison with law enforcement. As the old joke goes, "when seconds count, the police are minutes away." Yet, again, no one considers this to be a sound reason to do without the police. And the armed defender in the school is usually a minute or less from the scene when first shot is fired.

The point of armed staff isn't making the parents "feel safe;" it's to deter an attack, and in the event that deterrence fails, to have the means at hand to combat the attacker, and thus increase the degree of REAL safety.


Michael Theesfield