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Poll: Michigan teachers don't want to be armed in school

By Lori Higgins/Detroit Free Press (TNS) • May 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Nearly three-quarters of Michigan teachers are pretty clear about one thing when it comes to school safety: They don't want to be armed.

In survey results released Monday by the Michigan Education Association — the state's largest union for teachers and school support staff — 71 percent of those who participated said they oppose efforts to arm teachers.

The survey was given last month to 1,005 MEA members. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

"As politicians in Lansing continue to debate school safety, Michigan educators have a clear message: Listen to educators on the front lines. Allowing more guns in schools is not the right answer," Paula Herbart, president of the MEA, said in a media teleconference Monday afternoon. She said the results indicate teachers believe arming them would make schools less safe.

There have been many calls to arm teachers in the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and adults dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Some highlights of the survey results:

• 58 percent of teachers are worried there could be a mass shooting at their own school

• 49 percent believe gun violence in the U.S. has reached a crisis

• 63 percent said they oppose arming teachers even if they're required to receive firearms training and the guns are locked and can only be accessed by a teacher's fingerprint

• 71 percent say increasing funding and resources for mental health counseling would be very effective at preventing gun violence.

Arming teachers "represents the wrong approach to improving school safety and protecting kids," said Jim Pearson, a retired teacher and gun owner who described himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The survey was conducted online by Washington, D.C.-based GBA Strategies.

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