When it comes to making schools safer, arming teachers doesn’t appear to be the answer many of us are willing to embrace.

Some elected officials, including President Trump, have suggested arming trained teachers or school administrators after 17 people were slain in a school shooting in Florida last month. But the idea was not popular among 250 residents of Reporter Newspapers communities who responded to our latest 1Q.com survey. Conducted via cellphone, the survey is not scientific.

When asked what safety improvements should be made at our neighborhood schools from a list of six suggestions ranging from more police to better sidewalks, only 4 percent of the respondents chose to back the idea of issuing firearms to trained teachers or administrators. Just as many respondents thought no action was needed because their schools already are safe.

And when survey participants were asked directly whether some properly trained teachers or administrators should be issued firearms, their responses ran about two to one against the idea.

The largest group — 36 percent of the respondents — backed a proposal to provide more counseling and psychological screening for students. Suggestions to place more police officers and metal detectors in schools each drew support from 18 percent of the respondents.

“I believe that teachers should not be issued firearms for a couple of reasons —one reason being that many teachers have already come out saying that they do not want to be held responsible for their students’ lives in such a way,” a 14-year-old Sandy Springs girl wrote when responding to the survey. “I, as a student, would not feel any safer knowing that all my teachers have guns. In fact it would make me feel less secure and more anxious and on edge. The answer is gun law reform plain and simple.”

And a 14-year-old Sandy Springs boy argued that guns in the classroom actually would make schools less safe. “That would actually give students a greater chance at being injured or killed,” he wrote, choosing an option of installing more metal detectors at school entrances.

But others saw arming trained teachers as a direct way to curb school shootings. “They may be the only defense the kids have,” wrote a 55-year-old Sandy Springs man.

Others likened the situation to providing security on airplanes. “I believe there should be some highly trained, undercover people in the school that have the ability to carry [a firearm],” a 25-year-old Atlanta man wrote, “like a flight marshal that can take over if a situation arises.”

Among respondents who opposed arming teachers, some seemed horrified simply by the idea itself, while others raised practical objections. “It will not allow the police to enter as quickly knowing there are multiple people with guns,” a 37-year-old Atlanta man responded.

Another Atlanta man argued that shootouts in schools could end up hurting more people. “I believe we should strive to eliminate the number of guns in an educational environment,” the 27-year-old man wrote. “While trained first responders can certainly address violence when it appears, this also introduces another potential cost: injuries and death as a result of a gun battle between an educator/staff member and an armed intruder.”

Here’s what some other respondents had to say about whether trained teachers or administrators should carry guns in schools:

“In an emergency, teachers should be with their students, not out hunting for the shooter. Firearms training at a gun range cannot simulate a real-world scenario of shooting at people in a panic situation. In a classroom it is likely a firearm will do more harm than good.”

–a 63-year-old Sandy Springs man

“Police will never be able to respond in time to stop a shooting. Schools are frequently a target because the shooter assumes no one is armed. If someone at the school is trained and able to use a firearm it will be much more effective than the police responding after the fact ever could be.”

–a 33-year-old DeKalb County man

“There is no place for firearms in schools, aside from in the highly trained hands of law enforcement.”

–a 25-year-old Brookhaven woman

“It would deter school shootings, just like air marshals on planes.”

–a 55-year-old Sandy Springs man

1Q is an Atlanta-based start-up that sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text messages. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity. Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting “REPORTER” to 86312.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

8 replies on “Community Survey: In wake of school shootings, should teachers be armed?”

  1. How were the people selected as subjects? It might be a whole different story were they all at least familiar with handguns and their uses. The value of “advertising” that the school has armed personnel patrolling the school by far outweighs the risks. We have armed personnel guarding any number of “public” types of places The most difficult part of using a deadly weapon is the act of actually using it when it counts. Very few people are capable of this so the selection and training must be well-designed, extensive, and on-going. As for the comment that teachers should be with their students in an emergency – has anyone thought all the way through on this?

  2. Brookhaven already has residents patrolling neighborhoods with guns- they say it’s their legal right to drive with a gun in Georgia and stop to let others know they have a gun— and the Brookhaven police department agrees this is their right.

    Some of us are terrified of walking in our own front yards after being “informed” by patrols that they have guns—-

    now children in school should be scared of vigilante justice as well?

  3. “Gun-trained teacher accidentally discharges firearm in Calif. classroom, injuring student”

    “A teacher who is also a reserve police officer trained in firearm use ‘accidentally’ discharged a gun Tuesday at Seaside High School in Monterey County, Calif., during a class devoted to public safety, school officials said in a statement. A male student was reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.”


  4. ‘”accidentally’ discharged a gun Tuesday at Seaside High School”. This was not an accident but incompetence on the part of someone who was not really trained and capable. The bottom line – having schools gun free assures the bad and deranged that they will not encounter resistance. Is Mr. Betz the new and improved Ostroff.

    1. The aforementioned teacher who accidentally discharged his firearm in the school is also a reserve police officer trained in firearm use – training beyond what any teacher would receive in Donald Trump’s inane straw-man plan of arming teachers.

      1. You Progressives will accept what you want to believe; those who really are trained don’t have accidents.

        Thank God, Good guys with guns worked again today.

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