School shootings stir up debate about arming teachers

- In the wake of last week’s Parkland, Florida mass shooting, many are debating about arming our teachers. 

Local teachers have mixed opinions about arming themselves in school.

“It could increase the chaos.  How do they know which teachers are armed? Who’s not? A swat team comes in they see a guy with a gun they don’t know...” said Chuck Karns, a Collingswood high school teacher. 

“It’s an atrocious idea,” said English teacher Kwame Ivery.

Ivery asked his 9th graders how they’d feel if he had a gun. When he asked them if they’d be comfortable knowing he had a gun, only 1 student raised their hand. 

Making them the last line of defense against a shooter is now part of the heated debate over school security since the Parkland, Florida killings.

President Trump supports the idea, as does the high-profile top cop of the Upper Darby Pennsylvania force.

Mike Chitwood, Upper Darby police chief, says teachers would volunteer.

“Go through psychological evaluation training, when to use it, the weapons are concealed like the U.S. Marshals,” says Chitwood. 

In Philadelphia, the Teachers’ Union is strongly opposed.

City high school teacher, Stephen Flemming, says accidents could be tragic.

“High School Teacher: Anything could go wrong. The gun could get lost, stolen accidents happen—just the burden of knowing there’s a weapon in the classroom,” says Flemming.

11th grade Collingswood High english teacher, Elisabeth Yucis, will soon have her students read about the Columbine massacre—turning tragic news events into a learning experience.

“I don’t think adding guns to the educational environment is going to decrease the amount of violence. I think it would increase the potential for accidents,” says Elisabeth Yucis.

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