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Connecticut School Considers Proposal to Arm Teachers, Volunteers

Connecticut School Considers Proposal to Arm Teachers, Volunteers

Kent, Conn., is considering a proposal that would arm its teachers in Kent Center School, the town’s only school.

Located about 40 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the proposal being discussed for Kent Center School is one that many districts across the country are considering as they remember the unspeakable tragedy that happened on Dec. 14, 2012.

"The nonprofit Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response program would provide trauma kits and firearms training to school personnel in the event of a hostile act or intrusion,” said WTNH.

"The program would also allow anonymous volunteers to carry weapons at school. It offers 26 hours of training during a three-day class in Ohio."

Certainly, as the presidential race of 2016 moves along, the Republican rhetoric has been that school shooting and massacres are more preventable if schools have armed teachers or officials around.

The idea is polarizing, to say the least. Some say that teachers have too much to worry about besides learning how to use guns. Others say it’s a no-brainer because shooters would be hard-pressed to attack a school where they could expect return fire.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, a handful of districts have experimented with the concept since 2013.

"Different schools in Colorado and Arizona armed on-campus volunteers in 2013, and a small district in Arkansas armed 20 school staff in 2013, The Christian Science Monitor reported. The move drew criticism for both ideological and financial reasons, and the state of Kansas scrapped a plan to arm its teachers after insurance companies balked,” CSM said.

In a small rural district in Garden Valley, Idaho, the administration decided to arm school employees because it made sense. Being about 45 minutes from a police station and not having the money to hire a resource officer, it seemed to administrators like the only method of protection available.

Then there’s the story of the Utah elementary school teacher who shot herself in the leg with a concealed firearm in 2014. Utah is a state that allows for citizens to carry firearms in public places, including schools and including for teachers on the job after receiving proper training.

"In a letter posted online, Westbrook principal Karen Chatterton urged parents to 'have a conversation with your child about what they know' of the incident and to 'reassure them that school is the safest place they can be,’” said the Huffington Post.

While accidental gun fire and injury in a learning environment doesn’t sound like the most ideal situation, is it in fact necessary to protect America’s students? This is what districts across the country will continue to struggle with, as is Kent, Conn., right now.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/4/2016

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