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Teachers agree: Guns don’t belong in the classroom

• May 24, 2018 at 3:00 PM

There are few without an opinion on what needs to be done to protect schoolchildren from crazed shooters. One of the most-heated debates centers on arming teachers as a way to either prevent a school massacre or as a way to stop an active shooter.

A recent survey of educators belonging to the Michigan Education Association, the state’s teachers union, should put that notion to rest. At least in Michigan.

Slightly more than 1,000 public school employees responded to the poll, The Detroit News reported. According to the MEA, 71 percent of its members surveyed oppose allowing school employees to carry firearms on school campuses.

That’s a clear majority.

We’ve said in the past that arming teachers is a bad idea. Teachers have enough to do in educating their young charges while maintaining control of their classroom without also having to play the role of an armed security guard.

This poll from the Michigan teachers union succinctly shows that educators agree.

“This poll clearly demonstrates that teachers and support staff on the front lines do not believe arming school employees will make schools safer,” MEA President Paula Herbart said in The Detroit News report. “In fact, many of our members feel allowing more guns in schools will make them less safe.”

About two-thirds of school employees polled by the MEA say the idea would be ineffective at preventing gun violence in schools.

What’s truly sad is that about half of the educators polled believe that gun violence has reached a crisis level in our country and 58 percent are worried that a mass shooting could happen in their own school.

That’s an all-too-real worry. Case in point: After we penned this editorial, and before we had a chance to publish it, eight students and two teachers were shot to death late last week by another crazed young man with a gun at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

Nonetheless, let’s end the talk of arming teachers once and for all. There are better ideas to address this most serious of issues.

Trained and armed police officers or security guards should be placed on all school campuses. For those school districts who say they can’t afford it, we ask: How can you not?

Increase the funding for mental health counseling services is also a must to prevent letting someone like the shooter in Parkland, Florida, to slip through the cracks. And so is holding responsible the law enforcement agencies that didn’t see the red flags and warnings of said shooter.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Mark Brooky, Alex Doty, Josh VanDyke and Duncan MacLean. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to [email protected] or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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