The debate over arming school teachers

Last week’s school shooting in a Florida High School has made us once again question so much when it comes to security in our classrooms. More guards, metal detectors, and weapon bans have all been floated as ideas. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers.

“I think a concealed permit for having teachers and letting people know there are people in the school with guns, you won’t have, in my opinion, you won’t have these shootings,” said President Trump.

Kxly4 asked our viewers on our Facebook page Thursday, how they would feel if teachers at their child’s school were carrying loaded weapons. An overwhelming majority, over 70 percent of our viewers, were for arming teachers in schools.

But the Spokane Education Association, the group that represents about 3,400 teachers and staff in District 81, felt differently.

“It’s a little too soon,” said Katie Henry, President of the Spokane Education Association.

Henry says they’d like to see more resources for building relationships between students and the school, more mental health services in the community, and training for teachers and staff.

“I think looking at the broad range of resources and the complex nature of being secure in the school takes a lot of dialogue, it’s not just one thing,” added Henry.

They say security in the Spokane school district is meeting the need of students and staff. Even though the spokesperson for the district, Kevin Morrison, says it’s somewhat different from neighboring districts. They have one unarmed resource officer in every high school, which he says is more efficient. But Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says not so fast.

“I’m a former school resource officer. I actually started a program in one of the agencies I came from. I can tell you it is one of the most effective programs there is,” he explained.

He says armed deputies in the high schools get tips from students to help solve crime and doesn’t think adding more armed individuals in our schools would be a bad thing.

“You’re never going to get to the point where it’s an absolute guarantee that nobody is going to come into that school, so having somebody at that school is probably paramount,” he added.

KXLY 4 News reached out to other local districts to find out what their current security situation is right now. In the Coeur D’Alene school district, one armed officer (from the Coeur D’Alene Police Department or Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office) oversees two to three schools in the district. Cheney school district has one armed officer for the entire district. They are actively looking for a second.