Arming teachers? Let’s find a middle ground solution…
We all care about children’s safety, so any ideas or solutions to further that goal come from a good place.
In a nation where politics can be often become bitter and divisive, it’s important that we acknowledge and evaluate ideas that are presented before us.
Missouri City resident/business owner Kris Allfrey was an unsuccessful candidate for Position 5 on the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees earlier this year.
Some people would have moved on to another endeavor after the election, but to Allfrey’s credit, he has remained active in the democratic process as a frequent opponent of district policy.
The participation of folks like Allfrey – whether you agree with them or not – is an important part of a free society.
On Saturday, Allfrey – on a Facebook page called FBISD Concerns – posted a link to a video from Fox & Friends about a news story in the state of Missouri where public school teachers are being trained to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.
He prefaced the link by writing, “based on the amount of money FBISD is spending on security and our students are no safer, I now support arming teachers. I also support neutering the spending habits of the (administration) and the board!”
Allfrey is hardly the first person to present such an idea, as it has been discussed through the United States, especially in the wake of senseless tragedies as Sandy Hook in December 2012.
Later that month, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre – whose organization represents millions of responsible gun owners across the country – called for armed officers (police officers or private security) in every American school.
Providing that kind of security would be costly, and those concerned about out-of-control spending may not think it’s the right way to go.
But I think it would be well worth it.
Fort Bend ISD, like many districts in the Houston area, is fortunate to have a well-qualified, dedicated police force, but it doesn’t have the resources to have an officer at every school at all times.
Perhaps adding officers for every school, could involve contracting with area agencies – in the same manner that many private businesses or restaurants hire off duty officers for security purposes.
We don’t think twice about the fact that most public places have security present. Sure, we may not pay directly in taxes for airport security or NFL tickets, but it’s added into the total cost of service.
As a disclaimer, I should tell you that I’m not a parent at the present time, but I would feel much more comfortable with well-trained police or security officers defending students, instead of teachers.
In the Fox & Friends article, it says the Missouri teachers will receive 40 hours of training over a period of five days.
That type of training may be sufficient for individuals looking who are interested in obtaining a CHL for personal reasons, but law enforcement requires far more training.
And if that type of responsibility is placed in the hands of teachers, their duties fall into something of a law enforcement capacity. Placing teachers in such a capacity would also be a huge legal liability for any school district.
With that said, there may be some room for common-sense compromise behind the status quo, the NRA solution and the idea proposed by folks such as Allfrey.
Perhaps some teachers could be trained to be security officers or reserve FBISD police officers, and after hundreds of hours of rigorous law enforcement training, they could assume the role of “School Marshal.” if there aren’t enough existing officers to serve every campus.
It would be similar to an airplane’s “Air Marshal”, where nobody except the campus administrators know the identity of the “School Marshal.
Districts could offer extra salary – or a stipend – to those who have completed the required training.
Whatever FBISD – and districts across the nation – decide with regards to this issue, it’s important to calm the rhetoric on both sides.
We must remember that the safety of our children – not partisan politics – is the reason we’re having this discussion.
Short URL: http://www.fortbendstar.com/?p=42524