Arming teachers in classrooms a good idea? - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Arming teachers in classrooms a good idea?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

In light of what happened Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, several lawmakers are looking at legislation to allow teachers to bring their guns to school.

Armed with a semi-automatic weapon a gunman shot down steel doors to kill 20 first grade children and six adults at Sandy Hook. This same horrific scenario has played out several times at other schools across the country.

It begs the question, if the teachers were armed would the outcome have been different? No one will ever know.

MORE: Tennessee Education Association against teachers carrying guns

"If I had a gun, and I went out in the hallway to take care of the situation cause I had the weapon, then who's going to be watching my students?," said Sammy Jobes, a Mid-South teacher for almost two decades with military training. "Who's going to keep them from running out in the hallway and keep them from getting hurt?"

Several states are looking at legislation to allow teachers to carry on school property, whether in their vehicle, classroom, or even on their person.

Keeping kids from getting hurt is exactly why some lawmakers want  to allow teachers to carry guns inside the classroom. In Utah, more than 200 teachers are in the process of learning how to use a weapon, in hopes of preventing another Sandy Hook situation.

"This is my job to protect my students, not to be a policeman," said Jobe, who believes teachers have enough to deal with inside of the classroom.


Jobe, who is also the president of the Shelby County Education Association, said even if a teacher is armed to prevent the next, possibly deadly, school attack - there are no guarantees.

"I was in the military, I've handled all types of weapons, but that doesn't qualify me to handle a crisis situation such as this," he said.

As a parent of two small children and teacher for 14 years, Dr. Tamecca Fitzpatrick says the idea of teachers being responsible for our children's safety by wielding a gun in hopes of stopping an intruder, is inconceivable.

"They are going to somehow make a judgement call, know when to shoot, really make sure the weapon doesn't get taken from them, really putting their own emotions into check," Dr. Fitzpatrick said. "Then you're asking them to be so perceptive that you know what someone's intent is and I think that's unfair."

The issue of the teacher could now be held liable for any unintended consequence.

"Liability insurance, while available, is not available for a misunderstanding or an accident," Dr. Fitzpatrick said. "Let's say you somehow misplaced your weapon, or a student who was enraged was able to attain; those kind of things are not going to protect you when it comes to liability insurance."

Dr. Fitzpatrick and Jobe both say teachers need to educate. Let a resource officer or security guard take on the responsibility of safety.

"Just because you know how to shoot a weapon, doesn't mean you know how to handle a situation," Jobe said.

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