The debate over gun control and school safety remained in the spotlight Thursday, as President Trump pushed a plan to arm some teachers with guns at school.
Trump spoke with state and local lawmakers at the White House where he said he would like to see highly trained and qualified teachers carry a concealed gun in classrooms.
“If you harden the sites you’re not going to have this problem because these guys who lack courage will never go into those schools,” Trump said.
Several miles away the head of the National Rifle Association gave a fiery speech at the CPAC Conference. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre blamed Democrats for wanting to strip Americans of their second amendment rights. He said banks, jewelry stores, and airports are better protected than children.
“Every day, every day young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder,” LaPierre said.
But the idea of arming an educator does not sit well with Trish Gorham, President of the Oakland Education Association.
“We are not going to put a gun in the hands of teachers who are there to teach and protect their students and expect them to fire at, potentially, a student,” Gorham said.
Oakland Unified School District Police Chief Jeff Godown said he wants to talk about a real solution.
“I get push back from the general public that they don’t even want officers at school with handguns so to arm a teacher is completely insane,” Godown said. “It’s a statement made by a man that has no experience in this field and it’s a knee jerk reaction to sitting a room with a bunch of people. It’s not going to happen.”
Gorham believes people who advocate for arming teachers are doing it to sell more guns, not to make classrooms safe.
“What teachers should be armed with are counselors, nurses, support personnel,” she said. “They should have pencils. They should have paper. Our job is not to solve the problems of society. Our job is to teach.”
The California Teachers Association referred us to a statement released by the National Education Association. It reads:
“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.
“We owe it to the students and school personnel, who’ve lost their lives at schools and on campuses across the country, to work together so that we can thoughtfully and carefully develop common sense solutions that really will save lives.”