“I have been working in schools for 10 years, and we run a variety of safety drills for a variety of emergency situations,” Stonier said. If a
stranger enters a school, “they are approached by several adults in a very short amount of time.”
Ellen Joslin, president of the Battle Ground Education Association, a teacher’s union, said she is personally opposed to the idea of arming teachers. She said she worries about whether students could get their hands on the guns and whether teachers would be able to access their guns in time to make any difference.
“It seems to me like it would exacerbate the problem rather than solve the problem,” Joslin said. “If somebody wanted to carry a gun at school, that would indicate to me that they are afraid, and the kids would feel that. … It doesn’t make (for) a nurturing environment.”
Pike said her bill would be modeled after the Federal Flight Deck Officers program, which allows some pilots and flight crew members to carry guns so they could defend against an airplane hijacking.
Currently, most public schools are gun-free zones. That makes educators and students “sitting ducks” if a shooter enters the school, Pike said. She also said she believes her idea would create no additional cost to taxpayers.
State Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, said on Thursday that he would need to research Pike’s proposal before taking a stance on it. He said he could support more police in schools, if there was a way to pay for it, but arming teachers?
“I’d have to give that some serious, serious thought,” said Harris, a former Evergreen school board member. When it comes to preventing school shootings, Harris added that he’s yet to see a solution that addresses both sides of the issue.
Earlier this week, Pike took to social media to ask for feedback about her idea. She received more than 100 Facebook comments on the subject.
Some Facebook users said that they felt arming teachers would not make schools safer. Some even worried the guns could be taken away from the teachers and used against them. Others said arming teachers ultimately would protect children in schools.
“The notion is to warn potential mass murderers that any adult in a school is likely to be armed and ready to oppose them,” wrote Paul Mulwitz, a Facebook user who supported Pike’s idea.
Pike also wrote on Facebook that other Republicans in the legislature have “requested nearly identical draft legislation to address the important issue of gun violence in our public schools. I am confident that the best piece of legislation will come forward for all of us to discuss and weigh in on.”
Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics or firstname.lastname@example.org