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Should teachers be armed?

April 5, 2018
By Zach Pezzuolo , The Town Crier

With the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, some people around the nation have asked the question, "should teachers be armed?" This question has been repeatedly flashing across media outlets, such as CNN and Fox News. President Trump has even stated teachers should be armed. School districts in Kentucky and Missouri have already voted to allow teachers to be armed in class. However, is this the correct approach to stemming gun violence in

schools?

Outside individual school districts, the national conversation for arming teachers finds strong opposition. Melissa Cropper, a former teacher and President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, stated in an interview with the New York Times that, "gun training places unfair burden on teachers." Some students and teachers have suggested hiring more security, increasing police presence, and installing barricades. As well as more common forms of security, such as cameras, metal detectors, and door buzzers. In an interview with the New York Times, the National Association of Secondary School Principals stated, "firearms in principals' and teachers' hands might do more harm than good. To be effective, schools must be perceived as a safe haven."

Locally, Austintown has been on the forefront of school security. Fitch has already

installed door buzzers, which alerts nearby students and staff when an intruder is in the building. We also have a school resource officer, Ryan Reese, inside the school, along with another police officer guarding the front door and assessing visitors for potential threats. In addition to officers inside the school, there are multiple officers patrolling the entire campus at all times.

Officer Reese stated, "Austintown Schools are heavily staffed with police officers, possibly one of the highest levels in the state. The campus is also centralized, meaning excellent response time for backup officers." He continued, "armed teachers in rural areas would be a good idea where police response time is 10-15 minutes." Officer Reese has been the school resource officer for three years now. Austintown Police Officer Dan Yohman believes "teachers already have a big enough responsibility teaching, they don't need to be worried about assessing a threat." He furthered his stance by stating, "we also don't need a student overpowering a teacher and taking their gun."

According to Officer Yohman, school shooters hate confrontation; they will not select a school that has a high police presence.

The principal staff at Fitch all believe teachers carrying guns is a, "terrible idea," and it would be "...harder for the police to do their job and stop the shooter," said Asst. Principal Jim Penk. He continued by stating, "How is an officer supposed to know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys in a split second? Lt. Collins told us [principal team] many times they can't distinguish in a split-second. The police see an armed person and people will get shot. Staff members cannot be in the way when an officer comes in to do their job."

Students differed on opinions at the high school on whether or not arming teachers is a good idea. When asked about teachers carrying firearms, Hunter Amendolea, a senior at Fitch, replied, "It all depends on who is carrying the gun." Another student, Zach Potkanowicz stated, "...teachers shouldn't carry guns but they should be carrying something for protection." Patrick Coleman, a sophomore, said, "it's a good idea and would help deter any threats to the school."

Junior Ryleigh Morgan believes "only certain teachers should be able to carry a gun and they should also be qualified." It seems that most students believe teachers should be carrying something.

After talking with some Fitch teachers they too believe they should not be armed. Mrs. Martin, a 12th grade government teacher, stated "I don't think arming teachers will solve problems across the board, more can be done, for example hiring more security." Mr. Beany, the physical education teacher stated, "you better be qualified and only certain teachers should carry them. Also, those teachers should remain anonymous." Mrs. Pezzuolo, a special education teacher at Fitch, believes teachers having guns in school "poses a greater threat."

Arming teachers does not best suit Austintown Fitch as we already have multiple steps in place for security throughout the campus, but could it be the solution to other schools? Or should schools follow in Fitch's footsteps of added security? Hopefully we don't live to see another mass school shooting like what happened in Florida ever again.

Zach Pezzuolo is a Fitch student and is a member of the Fitch Talon school newspaper staff.

 
 

 

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