Letter to the editor: Do not arm teachers


I am a Clay County public school teacher. I was angered and disappointed at Saturday night’s Senate vote in favor of Senate Bill 7026. Among the many ridiculous items included in this bill, the Senate voted against banning the sale of military-grade weapons while voting in favor of the so-called “School Marshal” program.
The “School Marshal” program is of immense concern to most public school teachers. This program would allow teachers to undergo weapons training and be armed with a handgun while on school property. Allegedly, this program would allow schools to better protect students in case of an attack by an intruder. Can our legislators not see what is inherently wrong with arming teachers?
Although none of us would hesitate to bodily shield our students from harm, that is not why we became teachers. Our primary focus is to provide our students with a good education and nurture their growth as citizens and human beings.
What does the public think would happen if, God forbid, we are placed in a situation similar to the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? Let one bullet fired by a teacher go astray, and we would be held responsible and have no legal protection from our school board. Let one teacher miss while firing at the perpetrator and hit a student. Both the teacher and the student’s family would live the rest of their lives in unimaginable mental pain. The teacher would land in jail and be sued for trying to protect the student.
I find it quite ironic that we are regulated by state and federal lawmakers in everything we do. We are not trusted to teach effectively, and have had most of the blame for society’s ills placed in our laps. Now our legislators want to arm us and hope for the best? (Oh, and for undergoing the training, we would earn a huge $500 bonus.)
This is the most ludicrous legislation to ever be considered by our representatives. I urge all public school teachers and parents to express their outrage over this bill. Teachers are currently leaving the field en mass over our poor treatment and unrealistic expectations from legislators on the local, state and federal levels.
If this bill becomes law, our students will, through no fault of their own, continue to see their teachers walk away from this profession.

Pamela Jordan
Fleming Island


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