To arm or not to arm teachers, that is the question

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After the mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012, the debate on whether teachers should be armed continues.

"A teacher's job is to teach. Teachers aren't soldiers, they aren't policemen," said Les Landon, director of public relations for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. "They are teachers. Their job is to educate children."

President Donald Trump was asked during media availability Thursday how he would respond to teachers who don't want guns in the classroom. "These are experts. These would-be people that actually would want them and it would be a small percentage, but it would be a lot of people. And once you do this, you will have a situation where all of a sudden, this horrible plague will stop," said Trump.

The gun control debate continued further on social media in a Friday morning Facebook post asking parents how they feel about teachers being armed in classrooms. Nearly 300 WAFB viewers commented.

"Under strict standards, I support it," commented one parent. "How can a handgun stop the heavy machinery that the majority of these men carry? How can 6 bullets compare to 45 bullets in 1 minute? We're not solving the problem. If the teacher doesn't stop them, then the blame falls back on our teachers," shot back another.

Another parent responded with, "We protect everything else with guns, why wouldn't we protect our kids the same way?"

"Overwhelmingly teachers do not believe that they should be asked to carry weapons in school," Landon explained. "Because while it may give the illusion of safety, the truth is that the more weapons there are in school, the less safe everybody is."

Landon expressed, along with several viewers in the Facebook post, that before making a hard and fast decision to arm teachers, several other solutions hang in balance. "Like limited access to schools, improved mental health, but the big issue is that those who intend harm have easy access to weapons of mass destruction. Unless that's dealt with, we're going to keep having the issue of people shooting up schools," Landon said.

President Trump says arming a portion of teachers could be effective, even suggesting bonuses should be given to teachers who undergo training. "This talk of arming teachers and maybe paying them more is a bunch of macho posturing that doesn't really begin to address the real issue," Landon said. "The simple fact is, it's way too easy for those who intend harm to get their hands on military-style weapons whose only purpose is to kill people quickly and efficiently."

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