School Board Adopts Resolution Against Arming Teachers

School Board Adopts Resolution Against Arming Teachers

Members urge Maryland governor to continue opposition to Trump's proposal

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The Montgomery County school board has officially declared it's against arming teachers.

The measure came in response to President Donald Trump’s support for training some teachers and other school staff to carry firearms. On Thursday, board member Pat O’Neill suggested taking the position to resolve any lingering doubt about the board’s collective opinion ahead of Saturday’s March for Our Lives in D.C.

In an interview Tuesday, she said she doesn’t believing arming teachers would make schools safer.

“I happen to believe that a handgun is no match for an assault rifle, and studies show that even professional law enforcement officers who are under stress in situations where they have to fire weapons are not very accurate,” she said.

The possibility of an accidental discharge or of a student getting ahold of the gun also makes the proposal unappealing, she said.

The resolution, which passed unanimously, declared the school board is “deeply committed” to keeping guns out of classrooms and promoting school safety.

The resolution expresses strong opposition to Trump's proposal, stating that arming local school staff would “divert them from their core purpose of instruction in the classroom.” The school board also encouraged Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan not to stray from his stated position against the arming of teachers.

Jennifer Martin, vice president of the Montgomery County Education Association, said she was glad to see the board adopt the resolution.

“We want to be as welcoming as possible, as open as possible. Education is about liberation, not incarceration,” she said. “I don’t think anyone wants our schools to feel like prisons, but we do want our children to feel secure.”

She said members of the teachers union in recent weeks have stood behind the students who are protesting against gun violence and calling for safer schools.

Dani Miller, a junior at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, also applauded the board’s stance against arming teachers.

“I don’t think any student I know wants their teachers to be armed. It’s not that we don’t trust our teachers, but that’s not their job,” she said.

Miller said several of her teachers have even said they’d quit if someone tried to arm them.

And introducing more guns to schools would not make her feel less safe, she said, since the firearms might fall into the wrong hands, go off accidentally or be used improperly by teachers.

“Teachers lose their tempers just like anyone. And you give people who lose their tempers a gun? That’s really scary,” she said.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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