Avoyelles Parish educators react to ‘teachers with guns’ proposal
Almost everyone agrees that a good teacher is willing to put themselves in danger to protect the children entrusted to them.
But should that good teacher be armed?
There is wide disagreement on that point, which has been suggested by President Donald Trump.
“I’m torn on that,” Avoyelles High teacher/coach Andy Boone said. “It can be done, but there would have to be a lot of screening to determine who you allow to carry a gun and a lot of training in how to use a firearm.
“Why not just hire more armed security guards,” Boone continued. “It would be putting a lot on a teacher to give them a gun to protect students. If they did that, they would have to pay us a lot more. In fact, it would be less expensive to hire additional security guards.”
Boone said the cost of school security needs to be considered.
“I get it,” he said. “People want their children to be guarded and safe. We have armed guards for money and for politicians. I can see why people would want their children to be given at least that same consideration.”
Marksville High Principal Eric Dauzat said he understands “where they are coming from and how they think this may deter someone from taking this kind of action. However, I am not sure arming teachers in the schools is the answer.”
Dauzat said that if such a policy were adopted, teachers would have to have more than just basic firearms instruction. They would require advanced training “about when to use a firearm, how to safely use the firearm and under what circumstances the use of a firearm would be appropriate.”
At the elementary level, Cottonport teacher Vickie Mayeux said she also has mixed feelings about armed teachers providing improve security at schools.
“I didn’t used to be for it at all,” she said, “but we really are just sitting ducks now. Something needs to be done.
"The schools would have to be very careful in who was allowed to carry a gun and they would have to be fully trained,” Mayeux continued. “Then there’s the possibility of kids trying to get the gun from the teacher. There are a lot of pros and cons to this issue. It isn’t as simple as it appears.”
She said she is more inclined to believe the added security is needed more in the high schools, but added that elementary schools have sixth graders who may be old enough for middle school as well.
“Really, though, I think the answer would be in focusing on mental health services for children,” Mayeux said. “We need to figure out what is making kids act like that and have the services available to address that need.”