Should We Arm CT Teachers?

Should We Arm CT Teachers?
19 comments, 01/22/2014, by , in CIVICS, LOCAL

Today The Courant featured an opinion piece from 19-year-old Elissa Sanci who suggests that Connecticut should follow in the footsteps of Texas and create School Marshals to keep the children safe at school. This program effectively lets volunteer school staff train to be armed guards on their campuses.

I can almost excuse Elissa’s backing of this idea based on her youth. Her thought-process is remarkably simple but that’s expected at her age. Both she and Texas see a problem, school shootings, and determined the solution was to simply out number the potential threat. If one person wants to shoot up a school why not make them face an armed posse?

While meeting force with even more force seems like the optimal solution let us not forget that there was an armed Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy on-site a Columbine and that did nothing to halt the massacre. Perhaps you believe the superior numbers will help curb these types of attacks? There is a chance but I have a feeling anyone who has reached the point of going on a shooting spree, which often end in suicide, isn’t too worried about being taken down by the math teacher as long as they take a few people with them.

Let me remind you that these School Marshals would also be teachers first. While they might have intensive training it will be nothing compared to what our police and armed forces undergo. If something were to happen on campus that required these marshals to take action who is to say that they won’t fold under the pressure? What happens when the PE teacher’s stray shot at a shooter takes out an innocent student?

There are stipulations attached to being a School Marshal in Texas but none of them make me feel any better about the idea. The requirement would include 80 hours of training, mental health evaluations and that the gun be kept under lock and key with access only to the assigned marshal. That last part seems like a recipe for disaster in an emergency. Of course, having a marshal openly carry weapon can lead to other issues, like leaving the weapon in the bathroom!

This is a complex issue that requires a complex solution and one so simple as “more guns” is not it.

What do you think? Are armed marshals the answer? Is there a different solution? Can we ever be 100%?

 

Via The Courant | (c) iStock/Thinkstock

About Ed

19 comments

  1. mk
    January 25th, 2014 13:10

    …and please…if you’re going to make a statement that passes for knowledge, such as: ‘While meeting force with even more force seems like the optimal solution let us not forget that there was an armed Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy on-site a Columbine and that did nothing to halt the massacre.’ make sure you know what you’re talking about and not just regurgitating inaccurate propaganda: http://www.examiner.com/article/fact-check-columbine-high-s-armed-guard-saved-student-lives

    Reply

  2. MikeButler
    January 24th, 2014 20:53

    @Edcecarlson”As far as the stray round goes… Perhaps a teacher pulls and uses
    a weapon in a situation where it wasn’t necessary?  And say a stray
    shot kills an innocent, what then?”
     
    Show me even ONE incident where that has happened! But police shoot civilian bystanders all the time—NYPD actually shot 9 of them in the Empire State Building incident. And yet I don’t hear anyone saying they don’t approve of cops carrying guns, even though on average most police officers don’t spend as much time on the range or in training drills in a year as serious armed civilians do in a month. An we do know that unarmed teachers have been totally unable to stop the carnage or reduce the number of casualties in school shootings 100% of the time.

    Reply

  3. txmom26
    January 24th, 2014 8:55

    “While meeting force with even more force seems like the optimal solution
    let us not forget that there was an armed Jefferson County Sheriff’s
    Deputy on-site a Columbine and that did nothing to halt the massacre.”
    And yet you argue that only trained law enforcement officers should carry guns and be allowed the right to protect children and teachers in our schools?  Two children survived a home invasion here in Connecticut, not because law enforcement officers rushed to their aid and saved them from the bad guys, but because their father sent a friend over to check on them and this person scared the bad guys away.  Law enforcement didn’t show up for 1.5 hours after the children’s calls to 911.  Law enforcement has been limited in its protective abilities by protocol.  They will not rush into a building, even a school building, with an active shooter.  They will show up, position themselves, assess the situation, and children will die.  Lots of children will die.  How many children must die before teachers, administrators, and guards are armed and trained to protect?  
    I have two children in Connecticut schools, and I want armed guards, teachers, administrators, anyone who can protect my children if a shooter gets past the security measures in place.  I want my children granted the same protection President Obama’s children receive.  My children are just as important as the president’s children.  If this is not true, then the entire concept of equality is false.  
    You cannot have it both ways.  Either law enforcement, armed and prepared to protect, are the answer or they aren’t.  Arm teachers, administrators, and allow concealed carry permit holders to arm themselves while on school campuses in this state.  I want my children to be safe.

    Reply

  4. txmom26
    January 24th, 2014 8:46

    ummactThank you for your service to our country.  I especially appreciate your comments in this discussion.  You choose not to own and carry a gun.  That is your right.  I appreciate your support of the rights of others to own and carry guns.  This point of view epitomizes the democracy you fought for.  I am a parent of children in Connecticut schools, and I want armed guards in my children’s schools.

    Reply

  5. txmom26
    January 24th, 2014 8:44

    @EdcecarlsonSo your argument is that something might go wrong if a teacher is armed. Something can go wrong every time you get in your car, but you still are allowed to drive every day. Something definitely went wrong when Lanza entered that school and started shooting.  Arming teachers just works towards creating some equality in these types of situations, some way for the innocents to protect themselves.  Obviously hiding in a closet isn’t the answer, and facing a gunman with no way to fight back (other than hopes, dreams and words) doesn’t work either.  If the criminals are armed and the good guys are not, who wins?

    Reply

  6. cecarlson
    January 23rd, 2014 8:41

    @Ed

    I appreciate your candor, and I am not necessarily comfortable with the idea; however, we’ve tried the no-gun policies and the results are disappointing. I am merely asserting that it is time to consider other options.

    “i disagree about your “appeal to authority” assessment.  I am simply stating flaws in the idea.”

    Which idea, specifically? My comment was with respect to the following (from your original blog post):

    “While they might have intensive training it will be nothing compared to what our police and armed forces undergo. If something were to happen on campus that required these marshals to take action who is to say that they won’t fold under the pressure?”

    You essentially stated that the only people with the training necessary to handle these situations are authority figures with a certain type of training. You may not like the idea, but the premise upon which you are justifying your dislike is flawed. The idea that we cannot train a non-military or non-LE individual to perform at or above the standard we have set in place for military and LE personnel is simply untrue and woefully uninformed.

    The stray round argument is also flawed. I have experience in the “non 1-2-3 development” of potentially violent situations – they can and certainly do happen; but they can happen to anyone, at any time, regardless of what capacity an individual is operating in. A responding police officer is a human being. There is nothing about that badge they wear that makes them a super hero or immune to errors in judgement. They make mistakes, too. Now, if we are talking about a teacher losing the plot and going crazy – that is perhaps a fair point of concern; however, teachers are people who have undergone multiple rounds of background checks and other evaluations to earn the right to teach our children in the first place. So my view is, we either trust them or we don’t.

    Please understand, I respect your dislike for the idea of arming teachers – it pains me to think that our society has degraded to the point where this type of consideration is necessary.  I think I understand your concerns fairly well. I have been wrestling with this issue for over a year like almost everyone else, and I think about “what if?” every day when I send my kids off to school. I simply chose to start commenting here because I do not agree with the logic used to justify the positions you have stated.

    Here’s an concept I think a lot of folks would do well to consider: emotions are great motivators, but terrible policy makers.

    Reply

  7. Todd
    January 22nd, 2014 15:56

    It’s so difficult to post something not already covered here. I agree with what everyone else has posted so far. To add to this, I am a parent in Sandy Hook with kids in Middlegate and the Middle School. In the year since this happened they have done little more to secure the schools to stop an armed threat then adding a guy in a blue windbreaker to hold the door for you when you enter the building. My ID has not been checked once and as far as I’m concerned this it’s laughable to put the word security on the back of the blue jacket unless that guy is armed and wearing a vest. Otherwise he’s just target #1.

    If they do get a school marshal program going, the trainees could be administrators or even custodial staff – wouldn’t necessarily have to be teachers. I would want them to be held to the same target standards the Air Marshal’s are held to. I think its like hitting a pie plate sized target under stress at 50′. Scatter enough CCW holders around the building and it becomes a mesh defense. Add the big sign on the front lawn that says the staff is trained to protect by any and all means necessary. There’s a picture of such a sign posted on the internet somewhere in the Midwest. I think it would make most think twice.

    Reply

  8. Roy
    January 22nd, 2014 15:48

    We have armed guards at federal buildings at banks at prisons, our president is constantly guarded by armed security NOTHING is more important then our children of course they should be offered the same protection

    Reply

  9. john cinque
    January 22nd, 2014 15:43

    Warren v. District of Columbia District of Columbia Court of Appeals
    (equivalent to a state supreme court) case that held police do not have a
    duty to provide police services to individuals, even if a dispatcher
    promises help to be on the way….SO REMEMBER YOU ARE ON YOUR
    OWN…..the cops have no duty to save your butt….only to investigate
    and report the findings as to your death…..

    Reply

  10. MikeButler
    January 22nd, 2014 15:28

    “Let me remind you that these School Marshals would also be teachers
    first. While they might have intensive training it will be nothing
    compared to what our police and armed forces undergo.” 
    That’s a spurious objection. Police in most jurisdictions are not required to qualify more than once per year. Most of the hobbyists I know voluntarily put in more time at the range in a month than these cops do in a year and are tremendously proficient.
    “If something were
    to happen on campus that required these marshals to take action who is
    to say that they won’t fold under the pressure?”
    Like the TSA cops in LAX that allowed their unarmed TSA agents to get shot, one fatally, by a deranged madman? Merely because someone is a civilian, he is not necessarily less reliable or diligent than a “professional.” One look at our volunteer firefighters and EMTs should give us a clue as to how skillfully, faithfully, and courageous citizen emergency responders can and do perform under pressure.
    “What happens when the PE
    teacher’s stray shot at a shooter takes out an innocent student?” 
    Like the NYPD officers that took out no less than 9 (NINE!) civilian bystanders in the Empire State Building incident? Or the Bridgeport, CT cop that “mistakenly” fired a pistol in a crowded bagel shop? Or the Indiana police chief who shot himself TWICE in his career? A police badge does not magically transform a person into Mr. Safe Gun Handling.
    Everyone who wants to even buy a handgun in CT must take an NRA-approved gun safety course. As a certified instructor, I make sure to teach everyone to be certain of not only their target but the surroundings, everything in front of and behind the intended target, among all else. And that’s just to get a pistol permit; there will be much more that goes into the training of these volunteer marshals (who in all likelihood will emerge from the ranks of already licensed gun owners who want to serve their schools above and beyond).
    Just the knowledge that a school building MIGHT be protected by a concealed-carry staff or faculty member ought to be enough to deter the future Adam-Lanza-wannabe to find a softer target, like maybe a GFZ movie theater or GFZ shopping mall.

    Reply

  11. JeremyHubbard
    January 22nd, 2014 15:21

    I find it strange they mention the resource office at Columbine made no difference, but neglect to mention the shootings stopped by armed people on campuses. I know teachers that shoot better than most cops, and other teachers that support it.

    Reply

  12. Work Together
    January 22nd, 2014 15:21

    100%? Never will happen when we have
    some semblance of Freedom. However, that is not to say that measures
    should not be taken.

    One year after Sandy Hook and all we
    see done is passing of Laws that only serve to restrict law-abiding
    citizens. A Police State is not the answer but removal of Gun Free
    Zones is a start. Allow those that have undergone the background
    check and training to receive their CT Permit to Carry Handguns the
    opportunity, if they so choose, to exercise their Right of
    self-defense and a pleasing addition to that is the defending of the
    children.

    When I read these comments of “adding
    more guns” and all the “what if’s” I ask myself a “What If”.
    What if Dawn Hochsprung or Victoria Soto had the ability of equal
    self-defense on that day? They both exhibited hero-like actions and
    perhaps they would have failed at stopping the threat but I have no
    doubt they would have tried and at least they would have stood a
    chance. For the pro gun-control crowd ask yourself the question;
    “Would I support another gun being at Sandy Hook if it would have
    saved any of those lost lives?”. If your answer is yes then I
    suggest a flaw to your gun-control argument and if your answer is no
    then I suggest you are a sociopath.

    All the Laws, including a total ban on
    firearms, will never stop the insane, criminal and/or evil from
    harming others and guns will never totally go away. When the firearms
    abolitionists finally accept this and when they decide to look at the
    issues that are the root cause for violence in general perhaps we
    will then see a positive change in Society. Until that time we, as a
    Society, will be fractured and “fighting” with each other while
    thugs run rampant.

    Reply

  13. Ed
    January 22nd, 2014 15:15

    cecarlson - I agree you can never be 100% safe.  i disagree about your “appeal to authority” assessment.  I am simply stating flaws in the idea.  You mention teachers who have already made heroic stands but what you didn’t take into account is how many of them would want to carry a weapon.  Guns don’t make heroes.  That leaves you searching for the perfect mix of  that conviction AND a willingness to use a weapon. 

    As far as the stray round goes… Perhaps a teacher pulls and uses a weapon in a situation where it wasn’t necessary?  And say a stray shot kills an innocent, what then?  Things don’t always happen 1-2-3 and people, especially under stress, don’t always adhere to guidelines.  Unfortunately, we will never be able to keep bad things from happening and sometimes our best intents can make things worse.

    Reply

  14. john cinque
    January 22nd, 2014 15:02

    “Common sense gun laws” are not about the safety and protection of our children.If it was then ABSOLUTLY teachers and administrators would be armed. Sadly it is about an ideological crusade and because of that our children remain unprotected….EVIL will always find a way to cause damage.So YES THEY NEED TO BE ARMED.
    John Cinque Branford Ct

    Reply

  15. Ed
    January 22nd, 2014 15:00

    cecarlson

    Reply

  16. DeanBenjamin
    January 22nd, 2014 14:58

    Israeli teachers done this.and the number of school shootings dropped drastically.

    Reply

  17. GaryLee1
    January 22nd, 2014 14:51

    I think it’s time we stop kidding ourselves. We guard banks and jewelery stores, museums and celebrities, why not our kids? We turn schools into free fire “gun free zones” that do nothing but invite the lawless to commit thier foul deeds. I cannot understand the resistance to this. Is it becasue people are afraid of the children seeing a person with a gun? If that’s the excuse, get over it, they will see far more violence on television or the video games they are playing. After the Palestinians attacked a school in Israel, the Isreaili’s set up a comprehensive program to protect and defend their schools. In the 20 years since the event, there has not been one successful attack on a school there. It just makes good sense.

    Reply

  18. cecarlson
    January 22nd, 2014 14:33

    Try as we might, we will never be 100%. Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a dream world and fails to understand that not everyone in our civilized society is – or wants to be – civil.

    I understand your concern about training requirements, but I think your view is ill-informed by what appears to be an “appeal to authority” prejudice toward the issue. I am a military-trained marksman, and I have family in law enforcement (LE). Based on my experience and observations in both areas, I would suggest that military and LE training doesn’t amount to much. What matters is conviction to cause. You get out of training what you put into it, and I know a great many civilians who are very, very well-trained to standards far beyond those required by military and/or LE personnel.

    We don’t need to arm every teacher – we should arm only those who are willing to train and willing to accept the responsibility.

    I am curious – why would you ever think an *armed* teacher would wither under pressure when we already have examples of *unarmed* teachers taking a stand and trying to shield their children (the exact opposite of withering)?

    As for stray rounds… Yes, a stray round is a possibility, that is an unfortunate reality. But guess what – that reality applies to *anyone* operating a firearm. Police are not immune to strays by a long-shot. If you need evidence of this, go look at the record of the those that protect New York City. Enough said.

    An armed teacher could potentially stop a shooter situation much more quickly than a police officer because the teacher is already on site and has a “lay of the land” so to speak.

    Until we find a way to limit all loss of life, I think taking steps to limit the loss of life – which is exactly what a police officer’s or an armed teacher’s role would be in these scenarios – is the best practical solution. Is it perfect? No, of course not. But you know what? As a parent of school-age children, I want my kid’s teachers to have every option they are comfortable with available to them to protect my life’s most valuable assets should the need arise.

    Reply

  19. ummact
    January 22nd, 2014 14:08

    I’m a highly decorated Vietnam War Veteran honored on a plaque in Ridgefield, CT Town Hall and also a teacher/administrator for many years. And, although I don’t possess a gun and don’t want to, I would not want to carry one as a teacher/administrator. However, I unconditionally support any fellow teacher/administrator, who wants training to carry a gun to protect our students. I fully support NRA.

    Reply

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