Bearing arms in our schools
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Apr 03, 2013 | 3049 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of the truisms of education today is that after the governor and legislators have their say, after state and local school boards have their say, after principals have their say, someone gets around to suggesting, “Let’s ask the teachers.”

The ones most directly involved with what goes on in classrooms — the ones with the most insight into what schools need to function safely and efficiently — are usually the last ones whose opinions are sought.

After everyone else has blustered and opinionated, the Capital Survey Research Center, the polling arm of the Alabama Education Association, has surveyed teachers to learn what they feel about the hot-button issue of the day: Should someone with a gun be placed in schools, and if so, who?

Not teachers and not administrators, the teachers responded, even if those groups were given training in the use of firearms.

If someone is going to have a gun, they felt, it should be an armed security guard, not a member of the faculty or administration.

Interestingly, most teachers listed unsecured doors and unrestricted access to the schools as reasons they feel some schools are unsafe — two things that could be remedied without bringing in guns. Also on the list were metal detectors and security guards.

Teachers have reported security incidents that often concerned parent custody disputes or other family matters and often occurred in large schools in large cities. Nevertheless, large city teachers reported that they felt safer than did those in rural schools. Those teachers most often expressed the need for more security measures.

The survey found that older teachers feel more secure than younger teachers and, contrary to conventional wisdom, junior high teachers feel “somewhat” safer that those who teach the lower and higher grades. Moreover, teachers who attend church regularly feel safer than those who attend less or not at all.

There is a lot in the survey for legislators to consider as they make political points with the guns-in-schools crowd.

At the same time, politicians might also note that when asked, teachers overwhelmingly supported background checks on people buying guns, more mental-health analysis of potentially dangerous persons and restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Fifty-nine percent also supported efforts to restrict the sale of guns.

This page wonders what Alabama’s legislators will do with this information.
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