Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

July 6, 2014

Editorial: TC schools right to reject idea of arming teachers

Traverse City public schools officials are right — and almost certainly reflect the wishes of the great majority of district parents — to distance the district from a county sheriff deputy’s proposal to get teachers, administrators and other employees to volunteer for 40 hours of concealed weapons training so they can carry firearms in schools.

Guns don’t belong in schools, and no one but a trained police officer should be entrusted to carry a gun in a school or on school grounds or to intervene in a shooting situation.

Forty hours of gun training is not nearly enough to qualify someone to take on the responsibility of carrying a gun in a school and, in essence, become the law.

It’s absurd on its face to think the training proposed by Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputy Tony Romanowski would be sufficient to prepare a teacher to take up a gun and shoot it out with someone — or make them think they’re prepared.

Law enforcement officers go through years of structured training before they’re given a gun and sent out into the public. To think someone would learn enough to take on the role of law enforcer after just 40 hours of training is foolish and dangerous.

“I want to train somebody who can respond to an active shooter in the school,” Romanowski said.

Fine. Send them to a police academy or enroll them in Northwestern Michigan College’s law enforcement program for a real education in not just guns but how, when and where to use them.

The district is also right to hold its ground on plans to lock down a school building if someone legally carries a firearm onto school grounds.

TCAPS interim Superintendent Paul Soma said the district’s response to a concealed pistol license holder openly carrying a firearm on school grounds — even though it’s allowed by state law — is “evolving.” But the district will declare a lockdown if they see an individual with a gun in a school.

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