Arming us would turn schools ‘into arsenals,’ NJ teachers say
TRENTON — New Jersey's largest teachers union has come out against the idea of arming teachers as a measure to protect students against a gunman.
"Turning schools into arsenals will put children and staff more at risk of becoming victims of gun violence," NJEA President Marie Blistan wrote on the union's website. "Schools should be safe havens for learning and development. They should not become armed fortresses of fear. The only way to make our schools safer is to make our nation as a whole safer."
The first-year president was also critical of politicians who she said cower before the "gun lobby" that calls for more guns in schools after every mass shooting.
"It is time to put the safety of our children and staff ahead of the profits of gun manufacturers," Blistan wrote. "When it comes to gun violence, whether in schools or churches or movie theaters or night clubs or office buildings or concerts or any other place, we cannot shoot our way to safety."
Following the shooting deaths of 17 students and teachers inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump suggested that teachers armed within a school could end shootings quickly.
He later tweeted, "Highly trained teachers would act as a deterrent to the cowards that do this," and later suggested they receive bonuses for the added responsibility.
"A 'gun free' school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!" Trump also tweeted.
Alexander P. Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, told New Jersey 101.5 that teachers in other states have been trained to carry firearms during the school day.
One of the members of his organization is an elementary school math teacher in New Jersey and a competitive shooter, who told Roubian that his principal wishes teachers could be armed.
"But New Jersey bans that from happening," Roubian said.
He said it's important that schools and individuals take shooting classes to learn how to be proficient with a firearm and to be able to protect themselves, but contends New Jersey makes it difficult.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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