Metro educators, lawmakers react to proposal to arm teachers to prevent school shootings

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TOPEKA, Kan. — One of the people who’s advising President Trump in the wake of the Florida school shooting is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and he thinks teachers should be armed to prevent another massacre.

Kobach said school shootings usually last for 3 minutes, and it takes police on average 5 to 8 minutes to respond.

To fill in the gap, Kobach wants teachers who are willing to be allowed to carry guns to prevent massacres like the one in Parkland, Florida.

“If there’s a shooter in a building who is threatening our children, the only thinking that is going to stop him is a good guy with a gun,” Kobach told FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien during a sit down interview at his office in Topeka. “If you have got somebody in the building who is willing to do what is necessary, take the training, my goodness, is there any sane person who would say, ‘Oh no, no, don’t let that willing defender help out my child?’”

But not all teachers — like Olathe teacher Brett Parker —  feel comfortable carrying a firearm at school.

“In fact, as an educator, I would not feel comfortable in a school where other teachers are carrying guns.” Parker said.

He believes schools are a unique workplace, and having guns that students, who are curious by nature, can get their hands on is a dangerous proposition.

“The potential for accidents is pretty terrifying in that situation, so it is not something I think we should be pursuing,” he said.

Mark Desetti with the Kansas National Education Association, the Kansas teacher’s union, takes it a step further, believing students should be protected way before a shooter walks into a school.

“What we need are safe schools, and we need gun policy that protects people and keeps our schools safe,” Desetti said. “Why are we comfortable with one child being killed by a gun? Why is that the price of freedom?”

While many like Parker and Desetti look to politicians in Washington, D.C. to change gun laws, Kobach said the state is the best level to act because the federal government has limits on what it can and can’t do.

“Indeed the Florida Legislature is considering legislature now in the wake of the Parkland shooting to do exactly that, allow willing teachers and staff who are interested in becoming those rescuers in case a situation happens to do so with a firearm,” Kobach said.

Although he’s unwilling to carry a gun or work somewhere where teachers are allowed to, Parker said he does feel safe in the Olathe School District.

“In the district that I work in, we probably have the best of all worlds where there is a professionally trained police officer who is ready to respond if need be, but we don’t need to confuse the roles of teachers,” Parker said.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School also had a school resource officer on site during the shooting. The Broward County sheriff said the deputy stood outside of the school building as the shooting was happening inside. That deputy resigned Thursday after being suspended without pay.



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