Some Texas teachers arm themselves to protect school

Chandler Byrd, Voice Editor

The debate about teachers with concealed carry permits has been under speculation for a while. Some people feel armed teachers would make schools safer while others feel it would be a dangerous learning environment.

Recently, a policy was instituted in The Levelland Independent School District that will allow educators to carry guns in the classroom.

In order for a teacher to carry a concealed weapon, they will be required to receive approval from the superintendent, pass a training course and obtain a concealed-handgun license.

It is currently illegal, in the state of North Carolina, to carry a firearm on educational property though there are very limited exceptions. As the law stands, only trained law enforcements officers are able to carry weapons on campus.

Captain Jimmy Stevens, executive aide to Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, supports this law and expresses that teachers should not be allowed to carry weapons.

“I firmly believe that it is a job for law enforcement,” Stevens said.

Law enforcement officers go through very extensive training to be able to handle deadly firearms. Even though teachers would have to receive some training to carry these weapons, according to Stevens it is still not likely that their training will be as impactful as officer training.

“It is a huge responsibility to carry, especially in a school setting. Only qualified people should be allowed to carry to protect others whether it is teachers or an outside company,” Firearms Training Instructor Tony Norton said.

Another argument against armed teachers is that there are people who are uncomfortable around firearms, which could contribute to an environment not conducive to learning.

Carrying a concealed weapon without proper training could put students and parents on edge and create problems for administration. These are problems that could be avoided if the job is left to law enforcement officers.

Stevens and Norton suggested alternative safety measures that would protect the students.

Norton believes that there are outside companies that can provide armed security officers that have been trained in dealing with school emergencies and children.

These officers would possess a set of skills specific to this area of law enforcement and will have had more training than teachers with concealed carry permits.
Stevens recommended that administrators could provide better security measures such as more School Resource Officers, updated electronic equipment and more training so students can know how to respond in emergency situations.

“One great step in achieving that kind of security would be the formation of a Wake County Schools Police Agency,” Stevens said.

Creation of a Wake County Schools Police Agency would mean school security, incident prevention and emergency response could be overseen by one agency.

Stevens believes that if one agency oversees the safety precautions that schools undergo, these things will become more uniform and easier to manage.

Law enforcement officers know how to handle deadly threats and know how to protect the students if need be.

“Firearms in the hands of untrained persons can be extremely dangerous,” Captain Stevens said.

“Additionally there is a danger of the weapon being stolen or otherwise falling into the wrong hands.”