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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Teachers With Guns (What's the Problem?)

Okay, you've divorced a guy but have reason to believe he may have gone into your home while you weren't there. You get a restraining order and a concealed weapons permit and a gun. Problem? You're a teacher and want to carry the gun to school but the district (in Oregon) has a no weapons policy. What to do? Sue, of course.

This story appeared in the Mail Tribune newspaper in southern Oregon.

Where to start? First, I feel for this woman but, as a parent, I would feel worried if I knew my child's teacher was in a situation that she felt her life endangered and she was with my child for 8 hours a day. It's a horrible situation for everyone.

Second, this article points out that her lawyer says that state statute is contrary to the district's policy and that the law trumps the policy. (I wonder if that is true in Washington state?)

"Both state and federal laws prohibit carrying a firearm on campus, according to Gerking. However, the laws come with exemptions, including one for holders of a concealed handgun license."

From the article,

"Following the shootings at Virginia Tech, in addition to shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and Thurston High School in Springfield, a desire among teachers to carry guns has risen. A university in Utah challenged a law that allows concealed weapons on public property and lost, thereby permitting guns on campus."

Some problems?

"Even if it's a totally legitimate person with a legitimate permit — can you adequately guarantee that it will not fall into the hands of a student?" Moran asked. "You can't."

Long said he worried about what would happen if a crisis broke out on campus, and someone other than law enforcement officers was in possession of a gun.

Crisis plans worked out with local law enforcement agencies are "predicated on the idea that if there's someone on our campus and they have a weapon, they're not supposed to be there," Long said. "The law enforcement people would act appropriately." "

I like that phrase "act appropriately" meaning the police would open fire without asking on anyone who was carrying a gun during a crisis situation. That's exactly what I would expect to happen. They don't have time to figure out who the good guys with the guns are versus the bad guys with guns.

Also frightening was this comment from a reader posted at the bottom of the article:

"If teachers cannot be trusted to have guns at work, then they should not be trusted to teach our children."

Only in America.

1 comment:

WenG said...

I wish the school would negotiate a security plan rather than have this teacher challenge school law in order to bring a gun to school. I know an endless argument can be made for or against guns, that an armed school would’ve prevented Columbine or Kip Kinkel. I don’t believe a gun will make a person safe, and I would refuse to send my kids to a class with an armed teacher, if this is indeed what would've happened. I don't know if she intended to lock the gun somewhere during school or not.

Unless this is actually a gun lobby case disguised as a personal protection issues, I'm wondering if the school will counter that the teacher by will dismissed unless she complies with district policy. Guns aren’t the antidote to a situation that's already broken. If I feel so threatened that I'm thinking about carrying a gun, I know my environment is already broken. It will take more than a gun to make it secure again.

It’s never fair when a person is harassed or stalked and is forced to go on the defensive, but isn’t it a personal problem that shouldn't affect the workplace?