Most Active Stories
- What Kentucky Teachers Think Of Their Schools, Education Department Releases Survey Results
- MSU's Presidential Search Committee Plans to Use National Search Firm
- MSU Board of Regents Approves Dr. Tim Miller as Interim President
- Kentucky to Raise Gas Tax in July
- Survey Finds McConnell Leading Over Democratic Challengers
Tue February 5, 2013
TEA OK with Arming Teachers as Last Resort
The largest teachers union in the state is quietly on board with allowing educators to carry a weapon to class, at least as a last resort. The Tennessee Education Association is supporting a bill under consideration by the state legislature.
The TEA would prefer teachers not need to bring a gun to school, says president Gera Summerford. “I think the way we would look at it is it’s the responsibility of law enforcement-trained personnel,” she says.
But the TEA also wants a school resource officer in every school. So the organization has signed onto a bill from state Sen. Frank Niceley that would mandate it. If there’s no money for a uniformed officer, the legislation allows an administrator or faculty member to be trained. As long as no teacher is forced to carry a weapon, the teachers union says they’re in support.
But there’s been bi-partisan resistance to arming teachers at all. House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh says he worries about a gun getting into the wrong hands.
“The kind of student I’d be tries to go and have a look at the weapon or something worse than that," he says. " I can just see all kinds of problems with teachers going armed.”
Republican Governor Bill Haslam has also expressed misgivings, saying he doesn’t know many teachers who would want to carry a gun.
Niceley also has a much broader bill that would allow any teacher with permission and the proper training to carry a weapon to class. Lobbyists with the teachers union say their support is limited to arming one teacher per school.