Don't arm our teachers

Opinion: Editorials

October 29th, 2019 1:05 PM

You run for a seat on the school board and assume you'll cast votes on curriculum and teacher contracts and bond issues. That we have now reached the place where our two local public elementary schools need to cast an annual vote aimed at keeping Springfield from making it optional for local school districts to provide firearm training for teachers and staff is simply an affirmation of the deep hole we are in as a nation.

The very idea that the best way to keep our children safe from gun violence is to arm their teachers is repugnant. It suggests that the U.S. has lost the fortitude, the good sense to actively pass gun safety measures that are the most certain route to protect our kids. 

So we were glad to see last week that the school board at District 90 River Forest schools agreed to send one of its members to the coming Illinois Association of School Boards meeting next month to oppose this grotesque idea. The Oak Park District 97 school board was set to take up the issue Tuesday after our press time. Considering the D97 board opposed the same measure a year ago, we are certain it will take a similar position.

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  • Reader Comments
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  • Jim Coughlin (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 19th, 2019 11:31 AM

    Fire drills during my elementary school years were intended to teach children how to exit the building in a safe and orderly manner, Brian. There was no sense of panic among the students and we all returned to our classrooms without incident. It may be of interest to you that our family's parish at one time was Our Lady of Angels. My older sister attended classes at the school prior to our moving out of the Hamlin & Chicago neighborhood. The "duck & cover" exercises were conducted during the early years of my schooling. As I remember, very young students like myself were neither frightened nor concerned by the drills. It was kind of silly to hide under desks for a few minutes.An active shooter drill is a much different safety exercise. There were no controlled flames visible during fire drills or bright flashes of light accompanying the nuclear war precautions. I cannot image how young children today deal with the experience of being told that there is someone inside their school building with a gun seeking to harm them and they need to worry about being shot.

  • Brian Slowiak (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 19th, 2019 1:56 AM

    Or the mass hypodermic needle injections, the sugar cube laced with red medicine , I think polio vaccination and the dreaded gun like polio device used for TB vaccinations. All at school.

  • Brian Slowiak (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 19th, 2019 1:39 AM

    I wonder what fire drills were like in the Chicagoland area before and after the fire at Our Lady of Angels school? Or duck and cover?

  • Tommy McCoy (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 18th, 2019 11:31 PM

    Jim Coughlin You did not put a link to the article although I do not think the plan is to race through the hallways firing blanks since that could cause students to run and result in some possible serious injuries and very well would cause mental trauma to some students. More than likely, this will be a training exercise to explain to students how to respond if there was an active shooter which can be helpful if students are trained several times a year and class times are staggered to limit the amount of students moving through open hallways. Also, safety rooms would be helpful when students are moving from one classroom to the next and larger areas such as cafeterias and auditoriums have security added. I am confident that with good training, these exercises can be helpful

  • Jim Coughlin (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 18th, 2019 9:16 PM

    An Active Shooter Drill is described by a teacher in today's Chicago Tribune. The psychological trauma experienced by the participant along with the "rules" outlined are chilling. Police officers race thru the school firing blanks to simulate the terror. Teachers should not open a door to allow a student stranded out in a hallway to enter the classroom. Students are advised to "play dead" in order to fool the shooter. It is to our collective shame that schools in this county are treated as war zones.

  • Robert Zeh (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 16th, 2019 3:58 PM

    I understand not wanting teachers to be armed, especially in rich communities like ours with nearby police and great response times. I do not understand why you'd want to impose our preferences on more spread out downstate communities. Do you love their children more than they do? Are you smarter than them? If they want to do arm teachers, let them.

  • Tommy McCoy (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 12th, 2019 6:09 PM

    William Dwyer Jr. You have a reputation even back as a child. You have not answered in any of your comments your opinion and I suppose your opinion is you do not want weapons so now how do you accomplish getting rid of all the weapons or you could say all owners of weapons that fall into the hands of minors or adults are responsible for the shooters actions and create a law. You answer just is not an answer and people want answers

  • William Dwyer Jr. (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 12th, 2019 1:13 PM

    I don't recall you being around when I was a kid, McCoy. So I'm pretty sure you've no way to know how I acted back then. Maybe you're just confused? As for my views on lethal weapons, I've expressed them on this web board at length.

  • Kline Maureen (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 12th, 2019 11:51 AM

    Does anybody really know what time it is... whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whooooah, whooooah, whooooah, whoa, whoa....

  • Tommy McCoy (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 10th, 2019 8:33 PM

    William Dwyer Jr. Others are unaware how confused they are although you offer nothing except the same type of behavior you have had since being a child. You are not going to get rid of gun's if you think that is going to happen. This is about the next project to secure schools so why not give everyone your own ideas how you would keep students safe

  • William Dwyer Jr. (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 10th, 2019 5:58 PM

    Yes. I get that, Bruce. I do. And you quite reasonably asked a fair question, seeking clarification. Unfortunately, others posting here are blissfully unaware of just how confused they are.

  • Bruce Kline (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 9th, 2019 10:29 PM

    Bill, Brian and Tommy. I am confused ... really.

  • William Dwyer Jr. (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 9th, 2019 8:34 PM

    Got that, Bruce? The "obvious" factor you missed is the need to "establish a similarity including accessibility to weapons." . How, I ask, could the rest of us missed that?

  • Brian Slowiak (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 9th, 2019 8:26 PM

    @ tommy Real" McCoy: For the most part you are correct. However I am of the opinion we must save what we can, and work for a better solution. I would like to meet you somewhere, because I( have a book for you. "Why Meadow died" a student from the Florida school who died in a school shooting and her fathers actions after her death. Evil must be met by evil which does not want to be evil.

  • Tommy McCoy (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 9th, 2019 7:51 PM

    Bruce Kline The obvious is there is enough information compiled on every shooter or group of shooters background to establish a similarity including accessibility to weapons. If no one wants to put that information together and teach what to be looking for then the alternative is limiting movement of students from classrooms or you can bring in metal detectors and armed security and have students show up two hours before school starts each day to make sure every student is checked. There is no right answer to make sure every one is kept safe although and I certainly would prefer having some one armed if some thing did occur although I would rather work to prevent ways to prevent instead of increasing the number of bullets being fired and there are alternatives and school does not need to become a place where students need to fear going to school

  • Bruce Kline (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 9th, 2019 4:00 PM

    Tommy what is the "obvious" that no one seems to be recognizing? And what is the "answer?" Seriously.

  • Tommy McCoy (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 9th, 2019 11:31 AM

    Brian Slowiak Lets say you arm the teachers and a battle breaks out and bullets are flying in all directions and several bystanders are injured or worse, then the school board was wrong to arm teacher's. This is not the answer. School's are not a combat zone and the answer is teaching the teacher's, staff and student's to notice a change in a person who may need help. Having practice drills at school for a potential shooter is not the answer. All of this is going in the wrong direction, although I could be wrong since no one seems to be recognizing the obvious and would rather consider a force meets force type of thought

  • Brian Slowiak (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: November 9th, 2019 7:41 AM

    Just to show the other side of the coin, if there is a teacher who is qualified to carry a firearm in school, and that teacher is denied, what would happen if the teacher was injured or died during a shooting incident, not having a chance to defend themselves, would the Board and come up with compensation for their loss quickly and without a civil trial?

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