Teachers should not be put in the position of being required to carry a gun as part of their employment.

MSTA Resolution A-16 supports, “only authorizing school resource officers or district-authorized school personnel to carry firearms on school grounds.”

When MSTA’s Assembly of Delegates debated this topic in 2014 the intent was clear. Teachers want students to be safe and they want districts to have those trained and equipped to carry firearms to be the ones to do so. During debate of this resolution, MSTA members were adamant that they did not want to carry a firearm, nor did they want to be trained to carry a firearm.

Teachers want to work with students and help them succeed. Put simply, teachers want to teach. The expectation is that it is the responsibility of the administration to provide an environment that is safe and conducive to the learning process. Our state legislators and local communities should provide the resources needed to keep our school buildings maintained and secure. With those components in place, educators can begin the process of educating.

Teachers are not trained to be in combat or self-defense situations, nor should they be. They are trained to teach and work with children. As we manage a teacher shortage nationwide as well as statewide, we need to look for solutions that encourage potential educators to enter the profession, not add requirements that drive them away.

In addition, the professional liability insurance teachers have through MSTA does not cover them for events related to the use of a firearm, even if it’s within their capacity as a teacher. Further, while school districts also have insurance for their employees, many districts may not have liability insurance that would protect a teacher carrying a firearm because such insurance may be too cost-prohibitive or even nonexistent.

There are more questions than answers with respect to arming teachers in the classroom. The proposal isn’t a solution as much as a diversion away from the real debate – how do we keep our children safe? That’s a question that deserves more serious consideration than determining how to provide teachers with firearms.

Joe Heller, Hellertoon.com