Editorial: Don’t push elementary teachers into carrying guns

HotDogVendorsSaveLivesWe’ve discussed concealed carry on college campuses extensively within these pages, covering several petitions from students and faculty who have offered support or a lack of support for the idea.

We haven’t yet talked about arming elementary school teachers.

But the Texas Senate has.

Currently, Texas allows qualified teachers and administrators to carry guns into school, if the school board grants permission. Only three school boards have granted permission to this date.

However, Texas Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) has proposed a plan to train armed teachers for gunfights in classrooms, sporting events and meetings. The bill cleared the Texas Senate Education Committee last Thursday and headed for the full chamber.

Those teachers would receive 16 hours of training to teach them to first conceal children and then return fire. The new proposal would apply to charter and public schools that don’t already employ armed guards.

This is one of several measures that states are employing that may increase the presence of guns on college campuses or schools in response to the Newtown shooting earlier this year.

Now, the proposal allows for armed teachers ­— presumably, those who have concealed handgun licenses — to receive this training and serve in lieu of armed guards. Why hire an armed guard when you have armed teachers?

The bill approved by the Senate Thursday authorizes $1 million in funding, with the stipulation that schools could collect donations to supplement their funds.

Our question is this: Why not just raise funds to hire armed guards to serve instead? We’re not thrilled about teachers turning into vigilantes. In our opinion, it would be more prudent to hire someone who is already employed in the capacity of armed guard, instead of just giving more responsibility — and a heavy one at that — to teachers.

Furthermore, it would be those with CHLs who are trained for gunfights. Current requirements include a 10-hour class to obtain the license, but another bill that was put on an expedited calendar to clear the full Senate that same day proposed to cut the training time down to four hours, complaining that the current class is long and redundant.

Putting those two together — a potential four measly hours to obtain the license and only 16 hours more to be trained to respond to gunfights — gives teachers a scant 20 hours of training before they are expected to fulfill this new role.

We find it ironic that it takes more time and schooling to actually become a teacher than to be trained for a role that could result in the power to end life.

All states, for example, require a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, in addition to “a minimum of 18 semester hours of professional teacher education course work,” according to the Department of Defense Education Activity website.

In our opinion, packing heat shouldn’t be part of the teacher job description.

Let’s all dodge a bullet and shoot this bill down.