Public schools should be made safer without turning them into armed camps, Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan told a legislative committee meeting in the aftermath of a horrific school shooting in Connecticut.
The union leader told members of the House Committee on Homeland
Security that commonsense measures, including doors that lock and strong
partnerships with law enforcement agencies, can be a big step toward
ensuring the safety of students and the adults who work in schools.
Monaghan rejected the notion put forward by one lawmaker that
teachers should be armed in order to face threats from outsiders like
the man who burst into the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20
children and six adults.
Citing his own experience as a Marine veteran, Monaghan said that the
training available to most teachers would not be adequate to deal with a
“We have to be realistic about what the role of an educator is versus
the role of a security enforcer,” Monaghan told the committee.
“I was an English teacher,” he said. “You don’t want me having a gun.”
Monaghan reported some of the preliminary results of an LFT survey in
which teachers and school employees were asked to describe their
school’s security measures.
The vast majority say that their school does have a crisis management
plan as required by law, Monaghan said, but that some report
deficiencies in the plans. Many reported that their classroom doors
cannot be locked from the inside or without a key.
School officials have cited the cost of retrofitting schools with
locking doors and safety features like “panic buttons,” an issue that
Monaghan said needs to be addressed.
“We need to seek partnerships with appropriate state and federal
agencies to fund the required modifications. If necessary, a request
should be made to the congressional delegation asking for funds,” the
survey report says.
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