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home : blogs_old : off the cuff April 29, 2016

Off the Cuff
By Chris A. Porter
WNI Web Developer and PVtrib.com webmaster shares his perspective on technology, local and national politics, and life in the Quad-city area.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blog: Arming Arizona's teachers seems like a terrible idea.

 Chris A. Porter
WNI Digital Media

Courtesy photo

Representative (R-Sierra Vista) David Stevens is once again shopping his controversial HB 2412 legislation to lawmakers. The bill allows school districts to authorize for unlimited teachers and staff to be armed on campuses after completing just 24-hours of training.

Last January, a bill that would arm only rural teachers, sponsored by then-Senator (R) Rich Crandall, died in the House. Crandall's legislation was in response to a rash of school shootings such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

House Democrats, such as Minority Leader Chad Campbell, oppose arming teachers and staff. "It was a bad idea last year, it's a bad idea this year," said Campbell, "Arming teachers, arming anybody that's not trained law enforcement in a complex environment like that, it's just a bad idea."

Though Stevens' current re-launch of the legislation is still in its early stages, he believes it will help provide safety in schools. "It's a tool in the toolbox to help provide safety in the school system," he says.

Off The Cuff - My Take:

I have quite a few friends that have chosen to take on what I feel is one of the most challenging and respectable professions in this country, and that is teaching. I applaud them for their enthusiasm in pursuing such a career in Arizona, where I feel the importance of this particular profession leaves a lot to be desired, especially monetarily, by our political leadership.

In this state, the average salary for teachers is $31,689. That means the people responsible for engineering our children's path to higher learning as well as helping them overcome the academic challenges for our possible future leaders make little more than a staff member employed by any big box retail store.

Now I do not say this to devalue what folks working in retail do to add to the consumer experience in buying products that will possibly inhabit growth in our nation's bleak economy. It is merely an example to illustrate some perspective. Thus, would we ask the same retail associates to take up arms against possible shoplifters in their place of work? The definitive answer would be no for a plethora of reasons, most importantly legal and civil liability.

In a similar vein, do I feel that Arizona educators should be held responsible for taking up potentially lethal arms in efforts to protect our children from some unforeseeable conflict? Beyond the standard health and safety measures outlined by the state, once again the logical answer should be absolutely not. If you already believe school systems are currently caught up in litigation a bit too much, just imagine the Pandora's Box of liability and other legal implications this bill could dredge up.

Educating, like many other occupations, is simply not threat-proof. No amount of legislation is going to change that. What makes it even worse is that HB 2412 trivializes the security of our students by rendering it a voluntary position.

I believe teachers have more than enough on their plates fulfilling their main roles as educators to have to worry about fulfilling a completely unrelated job after being given only 24-hours of training. To me, this whole piece of legislation seems quite shortsighted and haphazardly put together.

If schools don't have the money for a resource officer trained in tactical situations, then other more realistic alternative solutions such as grants or statewide fundraisers should be addressed before entertaining such a rash piece of legislation. Teachers are not security guards, Representative Stevens.

This is once again where I feel some of our lawmakers in this state are totally out of touch with their constituents and have obviously lost all of their basic common sense when attempting to pass purely emotion-driven, "hold my beer and watch THIS!"-type of legislation such as HB 2412. For those interested, here's Mr. Stevens' email address.

Thanks for reading, and as always, your candies and flowers (or pitchforks and torches) are very much appreciated.

Related Stories:

Column: Armed teachers would be 'defenders' (dCourier.com)

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Article comment by: Sid Lloyd

Just finished two days of training with 200 cops in Mesa. School mass murders was a significant topic. Perpetrators have two things in common: bullied when young and immerse themselves in mass murder simulators like Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt. They want high body counts and go to gun free zones to get them. The Aurora killer passed by two theaters that allowed concealed carry to hit the theater that banned guns. The only thing they fear is failure. The average school mass muder took 12:30. Average police response was 18:00. Do the math. The only effective way to stop them is to have an on-site armed response capability. If that's a teacher, they better be well trained.

We have had over 100 years with no students killed in a fire. Schools are designed not to burn, there are fire alarms everywhere, and there are required monthly fire drills. Eventually, the US will have a similar focus on school security, but tragically it will take more incidents till we start doing what Israel does to protect their students.

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Article comment by: Here's a Fact

"Guns used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year -- or about 6,850 times a day. [1] This means that each year, firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives." - https://www.gunowners.org/sk0802htm.htm
There are many, many gun owners who do not have a law enforcement background, who happen to have much more extensive training in firearms than the LEO's do. Arming our teachers is a great idea, however, I do feel that 24 hours of training is not enough to know how to handle yourself in a tense situation. They should have much more training in my opinion, but I'm sure there are plenty of teachers who already have plenty of training and experience. They should be armed.

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Cuccia

@ Susan

There you go again with your adolescent name calling.

Here is something for you to chew on:

9.Safety: Arizona ranks 4th worst in Total Gun Violence (WSJ)
a.Firearm homicide deaths per 100,000: 4.24 (11th highest)
b.Firearm aggravated assaults per 100,000: 57.36 (16th highest)
c.Violent crime rate per 100,000: 405.9 (19th highest)
d.Need permit to purchase handgun? No!

Here are the Top Ten States for the most Gun Violence:
10. Georgia
9. Arkansas
8. Missouri
7. N Mexico
6. S. Carolina
5. Mississippi
4. Arizona
3. Alabama
2. Alaska
1. Louisiana
Notice anything in common between these states.

Notice that Mich, Ohio, Pa, NY, Calf are not in the top 10.

Dear Susan, read my post more closely & you will find that I never wrote that I was against gun ownership. The topic is whether I believe arming elementary, thru HS teachers is the best way to protect our children.

The fact that I mentioned gun violence stats is because where there are guns - INEVITABLY- there will be mishaps, accidents, misuse & when you are talking about gun accidents & the like you are talking about our children being seriously injured or killed so you can save some money. No Thank You very much.

e.Universal Criminal Background Checks? No!

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Cuccia

@ Frank Dude


Couldn't agree more! Our differences lie in who we want to give the responsibility of DEFENDING our children.

The George Zimmermans of the world or OSRs.

Now, we have suggestion to hire ex law enforcement as teachers - forget about qualifications, training, education - the important issue will be can you shoot. Is that good with you?

In addition, you seem to agree that gun accidents do happen & teachers may cause student deaths with the use of their guns, but that fi we lose students at the hands of teachers, its just the price we have to pay to make our children safe- Priceless!

The reason you people do not want OSRs is cause of the cost associated with it.

The Humboldt's & Prescott's budgets are in the hundreds of millions & room can't be made for 5 or 6 officers. Sounds penny wise & pound foolish to me.

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Cuccia

@ Susan

As usual instead of responding to points made, you make some sophomoric response that is no more than words that a bully would use.

Susan, I'll try again:

What About the threat of Friendly Fire killing students?

What happens if an armed teacher feels threatened by a student (You know stand your ground and all that).

What happens if a teacher succumbs to the pressure & goes postal?

Is arming the teachers an appropriate tax savings method?

Is putting the safety of our children in the hands of wanna bees, rent-a-cops really how you want to improve school safety?

Are you saying we need more George Zimmermans protecting our children?

But, Susan thx for making the issue clear.

If people support putting the safety of your children in the hands of teachers just to save money, then vote Republican (Tea Party).

But if you do not want the George Zimmermans of the world being the ones that are responsible for protecting out children - Vote Democratic.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: david K

Just hire ex-law enforcement personnel as teachers and aides. No need to have an officer sitting on his butte until needed. besides he or she would be collecting their pensions anyway and be quite capable of surviving on a teachers salary. Besides don't they have 3 personnel in special needs classrooms now, one of them being there for the teachers safety.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Aimes

@Frank Cuccia, ... dude.

There can be no defense without a defender. Simple.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Susan Cohen

@FrankCuccia - Gun deaths going up each year?! You liberal wonks love to throw out stats, but have no clue as to what's behind those numbers.

Gun violence actually goes up in places where there IS gun control...know why? Because only criminals have guns...check out those stats again for Detroit, Chicago, New York and DC.

And AZ is 11th in gun violence?! How about throwing out the number of gun deaths from gangs, you know, criminals? Thank God tax paying, law abiding citizens rarely have to fire their guns in self-defense. Sometimes just the sight of the gun gives the perp a chance to run from the encounter. Unfortunately, there are no stats on how many crimes are actually prevented because the good guys/gals had a firearm.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Susan Cohen

@FrankCuccia - I'm your huckleberry. What exactly did you (intelligently) want to say about responsible gun ownership and guns in the classroom?

Nothing? I didn't think so...

Posted: Friday, February 7, 2014
Article comment by: Brenda Brown

Working as an educator and volunteering in classes, I've seen some bad behavior--from students and teachers. Although there are fabulous teachers, who dedicate their lives to facilitating the learning of children, there are some awful ones. Typically, these are "burned out" teachers or people who think "anyone can teach." When I entered PHS halls, I could hear the yelling of the man in the classroom. It wasn't a one-time occurrence. Did the dept. chair, administrators or anyone correct his inappropriate behavior. No. Grin/bear it & know he'll be out soon. Unprofessional behavior is unacceptable in any industry. We expect students to respect/respond to us in positive ways. Some teachers don't think the rules apply to them. These few rogue teachers have been shooting sarcasm, defamatory/inflaming comments--often yelling to get their point across (signs of a bully) at students, staff and parents for too long. When we can't control our emotions effectively, we lash out at others. Angry/back-biting, kings/queens holding court in their classrooms, have too much power as it is. Providing a license to carry a concealed weapon at school is asking for trouble. Remember, bullies threaten, belittle and use scare tactics. Giving more ammunition to authority figures in schools is asinine.

Posted: Friday, February 7, 2014
Article comment by: 'Armed Teachers' is misleading phrase

HB2412 would require the firearm(s) to be kept in secure firearm locker(s) at the school, accessible by the volunteer(s) that get the training and who can be any school staff members, including faculty.

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Article comment by: Oh Ye Hypocrites

A lot of knees jerking here! How do some of you EVER go out in public knowing that the citizenry is armed? You get a sitter for the children, don't you? DON'T YOU?

If you REALLY don't want your kids protected by armed teachers, home school them. Leave the rest of us alone.

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Cuccia

It is strange that SOME of of the gun-toting, macho, gun lovers, post namelessly.

You want teachers to leave their class, go into a hallway & have a shoot out, but you are worried about revealing your names. PRICELESS.

Frank Cuccia

Question: what if a teacher feels threatened by a student, or the teacher has a mental episode - & goes postal with their hip ready handgun?

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Cuccia


I can hear it now: Why do you home-school your children? Not enough guns there!


Frank Cuccia

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Cuccia

The Gift That keeps on Giving!

I am so thankful for Buz Williams and people who think like him. They make THE CHOICE SO CLEAR:

If you believe putting guns in our schools is an appropriate taxpayer savings option - Choose Republicans.

If, however, If you believe, as I do, that arming teachers so there could be gun battles in our school hallways is not an appropriate response -

Choose a Democrat

Presently AZ is 11th worst state in Gun Deaths & the #4 worst state in Gun Violence.


Frank Cuccia

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