Trump's suggestion to arm teachers draws criticism

President Donald ...

Posted: Feb 22, 2018 10:42 AM
Updated: Feb 22, 2018 10:42 AM

President Donald Trump's suggestion that teachers should be armed and trained to combat school shooters was widely criticized Wednesday.

Meeting with students and parents affected by school shootings at the White House, Trump listened to emotional stories and pleas to enhance school safety. He suggested that armed teachers might be able to neutralize shooters like the former student who fatally shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week.

"If you had a teacher who was adept the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly," he said Wednesday, stating that schools could arm up to 20% of their teachers to stop "maniacs" who may try and attack them.

"I'm not here to debate, but I lost my sister," said Hunter Pollack, whose sister Meadow was killed in last week's shooting.

"And like Mr. President said, if you could find 20% of maybe retired law enforcement officers, or a teacher who could go through discreet training to carry a firearm around his waist, it could've been a very different situation."

But not all agreed with that approach.

Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, took the microphone and told Trump she would rather arm teachers with ways to prevent shootings in the first place rather than with a firearm.

"Let's talk about prevention," Hockley said. "There is so much we can do to help this person before we reach this point."

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten condemned the proposal. "I am sickened by those doing the bidding of the gun lobby, and those like President Trump and (Education Secretary) Betsy DeVos who want an arms race and to turn schools into militarized fortresses by arming teachers. Anyone who wants guns in schools has no understanding of what goes on inside them -- or worse, doesn't care."

The union's executive council on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning gun violence and calls to arm teachers, according to the statement.

"It's time for politicians to value children over the gun lobby. AFT members will not rest until we prevent military-style weapons from getting into the hands of people who want to massacre children and educators," Weingarten said.

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said bringing more guns into schools would not make them safer.

"Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms," she said in a statement. "Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff."

The statement added, "We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that."

David Benke, a retired math teacher, said the solution to the problem isn't as simple as giving educators guns. He helped restrain an active shooter who wounded two students at a Colorado middle school in 2010.

"I would rather have a school resource officer, usually they're a sheriff's officer, in every school," he said.

"Let's say you're an armed teacher and 90% of the time you're going to be in your classroom with your kids. Something happens. Do you then leave your kids and go bad guy hunting? Pretty bad ethical dilemma to put somebody in."

Trump's idea also drew criticism on social media.

Dr. Eugene Gu, a surgical resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center whose verified Twitter account boasts that he was blocked by @realDonaldTrump, tweeted: "Trump's proposal during his 'listening session' to arm teachers and bring more guns into our schools is beyond preposterous. That's like saying the solution to lung cancer is to smoke more cigarettes. #ParklandStudentsSpeak"

Singer-songwriter John Legend, a frequent Trump critic, also chimed in.

"We don't pay our teachers enough to TEACH," he tweeted. "Now these fools want them to double as armed security. Meanwhile, our kids are the active shooter drill generation."

Isabela Barry, who survived last week's massacre by huddling in a closet with dozens of classmates, told CNN's The Lead Wednesday that she disagreed with the President.

"I feel like arming teachers is just like fighting fire with fire," she said. "I feel like we won't get anything done if we just continue to pile on the amounts of firearms."

Trump also offered other possible solutions during the listening session, calling for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to arming teachers.

"This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it's called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them," he said.

"They'd go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. Gun-free zone to a maniac -- because they're all cowards -- a gun-free zone is 'let's go in and let's attack because bullets aren't coming back at us.'"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119336

Reported Deaths: 3328
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8109180
DeSoto734280
Harrison553785
Jackson488488
Rankin412386
Madison388094
Lee368682
Forrest313478
Jones298484
Washington2644100
Lauderdale2611135
Lafayette256043
Lamar234040
Oktibbeha206055
Bolivar205279
Neshoba1883111
Lowndes182862
Leflore173088
Panola172241
Sunflower165949
Warren156656
Monroe154873
Pontotoc151520
Marshall150530
Lincoln144859
Pike140956
Copiah139936
Scott128129
Coahoma126537
Union126025
Yazoo124534
Simpson124049
Grenada123139
Tate123039
Pearl River117960
Itawamba117827
Leake117042
Holmes115160
Adams110245
Prentiss109520
Alcorn105012
Wayne103422
George103020
Covington99729
Marion96944
Tippah95124
Hancock88128
Newton88128
Chickasaw87028
Winston85921
Tallahatchie85826
Tishomingo83141
Attala80927
Clarke78353
Clay71522
Jasper69817
Walthall64827
Calhoun63613
Smith60816
Noxubee60317
Yalobusha56616
Montgomery56523
Lawrence55314
Claiborne54216
Tunica53917
Perry52823
Carroll50912
Stone49814
Greene48218
Humphreys45817
Amite43413
Jefferson Davis42412
Quitman4246
Webster38213
Benton36911
Wilkinson34321
Kemper33415
Sharkey29115
Jefferson28110
Franklin2533
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 162720

Reported Deaths: 2735
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23940385
Mobile17123319
Tuscaloosa10602141
Montgomery10503199
Madison955798
Shelby760565
Baldwin676869
Lee664965
Calhoun476562
Marshall447451
Etowah441952
Morgan430835
Houston423934
DeKalb355429
Elmore327858
St. Clair311342
Limestone297031
Walker287493
Talladega276437
Cullman266525
Lauderdale240543
Jackson225317
Autauga212631
Colbert210232
Franklin209432
Blount200925
Russell19833
Chilton192332
Dallas189227
Dale184952
Coffee183611
Covington177329
Escambia175831
Clarke138717
Chambers138047
Tallapoosa137287
Pike136414
Marion110931
Barbour10559
Marengo104622
Butler101941
Winston94713
Geneva9427
Pickens89018
Lawrence88533
Bibb86115
Randolph84616
Hale78130
Cherokee76414
Clay76312
Washington75812
Henry7316
Lowndes72128
Monroe66310
Bullock65117
Crenshaw61230
Fayette59913
Perry5996
Cleburne5799
Conecuh57213
Wilcox57112
Macon54320
Lamar5235
Sumter48621
Choctaw39512
Greene34516
Coosa2173
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