Armed teachers in this community make parents feel more secure

by decwells
Armed teachers in this community make parents feel more secure

placeholder when loading article action

Utopia, Texas — Three months before a teenager shot a fourth grader in Uvalde, school administrators in Utopia, a 45-minute drive north, declared a lockdown. A man who was pulled over for arrest suddenly escaped police custody and was torn up on campus. In a dark and quiet classroom, a teacher handed out lollipops to keep students quiet. Older students piled their desks in front of the classroom door. Another teacher told the children not to flush the toilet for fear of making too much noise.

And, unbeknownst to their colleagues, an armed group of school staff was ready to take action.

After the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the tiny Texas school system began to worry about what would happen if gunmen attacked the sun-drenched campus, where fewer than 200 students were in class. Even in an emergency, the sheriff’s deputies take 30 minutes to get to town, and there is no way to hire police in the area.

Therefore, in 2013, the school board allowed school employees to arm themselves as long as they had a concealed carry weapons permit and permission from the board. The town does not release the names of its potential defenders.

“When you live like this, you have to take care of yourself,” said Karen Heideman, a longtime business manager for the Utopia Independent School District. She is working on getting a permit so she can carry a gun to work. “You can’t just dial 9-11 and expect the police to come in less than five minutes.. “

Armed Uwald officers wait for keys to unlock doors, officials say

Now, in the wake of the Uvalde shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers, more school districts are considering doing what Utopia does: making armed teachers part of their safety.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Says solution to school shootings lies in ‘strengthening’ schoolsincluding allowing teachers and administrators to carry weapons.

“First responders are often unable to get to the scene in time to prevent a shooting,” Paxton said. “You’re going to have to get more people trained to respond.” Last week, the Supreme Court lifted some of the toughest gun restrictions even as Congress passed gun safety legislation.

For the town’s residents, the Uwald shooting drove them home to get ready. Utopia School head Michael Derry said arming school personnel was common sense and guns were just “tools” not much different from a crescent wrench, hammer or a reporter’s laptop. Although parents do not know the names of the armed men, they trust educators who carry weapons to keep their children safe. In a town so close, community is just an extension of the family, and that trust is easier to gain.

The number of school districts armed with educators and other school workers (people whose primary job is not school security) is not well counted, and the practice is unheard of in larger areas that employ guards or police. It’s still rare even in Texas, which allows teachers to carry guns on campus with just four hours of training. Regions that employ this strategy are often small and remote, such as Utopia.

But it appears to be gaining popularity as right-wing politicians embrace it as a solution to stopping school shootings. In 2018, President Donald Trump floated the idea of ​​arming hundreds of thousands of teachers after a former student killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Although a plan of that scope was never implemented, his government later released a report recommending arming teachers.

Florida launched a school guardian program in 2018 named after Aaron Feis, a football coach who died while protecting students from bullets in the hallway of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Supporters suggested things could have been different had he been armed. According to POLITICO, nearly 1,400 school staff have now received guardian training.

In Texas, a 2018 shooting at a Santa Fe high school led to an expansion of the state’s school police program, which trains security guards, teachers and administrators to respond to school shootings and certify that they can carry firearms on campus. The show had 34 campus police officers before filming. There are now 256.

That number is likely to rise in the months following the Uwald shooting, not just in Texas. This month, Ohio passed a law reducing the training time for teachers who want to be armed from 700 hours to 24 hours, opening the door for more people to carry guns on campus.

Senate votes to push for bipartisan gun deal, breaking 30-year stalemate

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, laws in 29 states now allow people to bring firearms into K-12 schools under certain circumstances. Several states — blue and red — allow this if the individual has a concealed carry permit, a permit from the associated school, or both. In Arkansas, school workers have been able to bypass gun bans by training to become security guards or reserve police officers.

“After the terrible events in Uwald, Texas, voters and even many lawmakers were advocating, I quote, ‘do something,'” said Ohio Representative Thomas Hall, who supported the bill. “I’m proud to be part of this moment, in fact, to do something that will undoubtedly protect students and staff.”

For many proponents of gun restrictions, the idea of ​​requiring teachers to confront gunmen is unthinkable, with teachers and unions generally rejecting proposals to arm educators. A month after the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, a survey of teachers found that nearly 73 percent opposed the idea, with nearly six in 10 believing it would make their schools less safe . Opponents of armed teachers, such as Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that supports gun restrictions, point out that even police officers, who are more trained than school staff, often miss their targets when firing in emergency situations. In 2016, at Alpine High School in Texas, a federal law enforcement officer accidentally shot and killed another officer while responding to a school shooting.

What if the student gets the teacher’s gun, the opponents ask? What if a teacher accidentally shoots an innocent student? What if the police mistook an armed teacher as a threat and shot the person? What if an armed teacher came face-to-face with a school gunman – and found out it was one of their own students? Can they pull the trigger? Should they?

Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, said when the group polled its members on the issue of armed teachers, they were “strongly opposed to the idea.”

“They knew that by the time someone showed up with a military-grade weapon, it was too late,” Pringle said.

But in 2013, when Utopian school board members proposed arming teachers, there was no debate, according to Heideman. In a community where guns are ubiquitous—for hunting, sports and personal protection—the idea of ​​arming educators is not controversial.

Utopia is in the mountains of Texas, where the deadly flat landscape of San Antonio gives way to rugged hills. The school district attracts students from Utopia and surrounding communities, and is the town’s largest employer, with 18 certified educators and 22 other staff members.

The town is unincorporated, and residents do not elect a mayor, a city council, or a dog catcher. Many of the functions typically performed by local governments—beautifying business districts marked “Welcome to Utopia,” responding to fire and medical emergencies, operating recycling centers—are performed by volunteers. Residents pride themselves on being self-sufficient. Many people eat what they hunt and fill their freezers with venison.

In interviews, they said arming educators is an extension of that ethos — and a way of looking out for each other.

“I don’t know who they are, but I know they love this community and they love these kids,” said Chad Chamness, who teaches several utopian courses at the school and is the town’s Methodist minister, He was referring to militants. school staff.

The town is so trusting that last school year, its campus was open, and parents were free to walk in and deliver lunch to their children in the classroom. With the help of federal grants, Delhi is changing that for the next school year, enclosing campuses with high fences and installing electronic gates that can be opened and closed with a swipe of a card. Derry said some residents complained that the school looked like a prison. After the Uwald shooting, the criticism subsided, he said.

Republicans reluctant to pass gun laws push to arm teachers

Armed staff volunteered for this role – and took responsibility seriously. For security reasons, the school system is deliberately opaque about the issue — including details such as which staff members and how many are armed. But the district announced the plan at the school gate and put a paper sign on the window that read: “Attention! This school is under the protection of armed men.”

Out of respect for the school’s safety policy, one teacher, who was not named by The Washington Post, said he took on the role when an administrator approached him for help. He said he hoped he would never have to use his gun, but if he had to, the scenario he envisioned was this:

“If there are gunmen on campus, our job is to eliminate the threat, or at least keep them in the area until law enforcement can get here and do their job,” he said. He also knew that carrying a gun on campus meant that If it was in danger, he might have to run towards it, risking his life.

“For my children, I will protect them with everything I have until my last breath,” the teacher said. “And, yes, I do want to go home at the end of the day. But I’m old. They’re young. They’ve got a long way to go.”

Derry wouldn’t say how many staff members were armed — “that’s enough,” he said — but the group meets regularly with sheriff’s deputies to identify them in school shootings. In addition to this, there are at least two slender black gun safes in the school.

Teachers grapple with trauma for years after school shooting

In Utopia, guns on campus won’t upset teachers or students. Bradie Williams, who teaches third- and fourth-grade social studies and sends her two children to Utopia’s school, doesn’t carry a gun on campus, in part because she says she’s too busy to get a concealed carry permit Required training. But she understands the reasoning behind it.

“If an intruder gets into the room, then I have something to protect my kids,” Williams said. “Otherwise, you’re just sitting duck, you know? I mean, what are you going to do? Throw a pencil at him?”

Sarah Wernette owns “Sarah’s Utopia,” a home decor and gift shop that sells embroidered pillowcases from Mexico, organic skin care products and tea towels printed with one-liners, among other items. She also has two children at school. What outsiders often fail to understand, she said, is what it means to grow up around guns.

“The difference is that everyone is brought up by the rules about guns,” said Venette, who kept the guns in her truck.

Her kids started using BB guns at age 4 because they learned the basics: never use a gun without an adult, never point it anywhere you don’t want to shoot. By their fifth birthday, each had shot a deer. She said she raised them with a healthy respect for firearms, which she believed would prevent accidental firing.

The RAND Corporation reviewed existing research in 2020 to try to determine whether arming teachers makes schools safer or more dangerous. The researchers concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support either proposition.

But for people who believe in guns, the answer is straightforward: Armed teachers.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

About Us


We are motivated by beautiful and original concepts and believe that style is personal. That is why our website aims to present our readers with a plethora of gorgeous photographs for inspiration while also encouraging their creativity in designing, decorating, and personalizing their area.

@2021-2022 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by Decwells

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy