KAALtv.com

Special Report: Arming Our Teachers?

Posted at: 02/06/2013 7:27 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's a tragedy that rocked the entire nation; the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A gunman opened fire, killing 26 people, most of them children. In the wake of that tragedy, one question has been front and center.

It's a tragedy that rocked the entire nation; the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A gunman opened fire, killing 26 people, most of them children. In the wake of that tragedy, one question has been front and center. Would things have been different had those educators been carrying guns themselves?

Albert Lea social studies teacher Jerry Bizjak grew up in a hunting family, with several guns in his home. He says he wouldn't be comfortable bringing a weapon into his classroom.

"It's asking for a lot of trouble. It's difficult to get in here. There's quite a few newer security measures that the school has done the last few years. So as far as me having a gun, or other teachers, I think that would be going down the wrong path," said Bizjak. He also says that securing a gun would be an issue as well.

"I asked some of the same questions to my older students. And they were all unanimous. No, that would be a really bad idea just as far as the security of the gun itself and the teacher's ability in kind of a hectic day to always be mindful of that," said Bizjak.

The Minnesota teacher's union agrees.

"I think we're creating more problems by arming more people in schools. If we need to have a police officer there, which some schools need to have, that's where it belongs; with trained officers. But we don't want our schools to become shooting ranges and more tragedy that's going to happen," said Tom Dooher, the President of Education Minnesota.

The Minnesota Chapter of the Gun Owners' Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA) has a different view.

"The most important thing in our lives, our children, we trust to these schools and we want these schools to do everything that they can to keep our children safe. They're acting in local parentis. They're acting in the place of the parent. And I want to know that my teachers, and my schools are doing absolutely everything that I would do to keep my children safe," said Andrew Rothman, the Vice President of GOCRA.

Guns in schools would be a way to react to a situation. But what about prevention? Guns and mental health have gone hand in hand in debates since Sandy Hook.

"We are 48th in the country on school counselor ratio to students. So it's 750 to 1 counselor. We need to identify those kids and we need to help them, so that we can take care of these issues before they become large, and become tragic," said Dooher.

"It would be teriffic if we could find that one in one billion who is going to snap and go on a murderous rampage, but that's not going to be a be the solution either as hard as we try. We're simply not going to stop every single person who tries. But once they try, we need to stop it right away," said Rothman.

While President Obama and lawmakers across the country work to find a gun-reform solution, the debates will continue. But everyone seems to be focused on the same goal; we need to keep our children safe.

"Violence in our society isn't simple. There isn't a simple, silver-bullet that will take care of everything. Wouldn't it be better if we offered the people that take care of our children some means to offer some effective resistance?" said Rothman.

"I think the discussion is going to happen in Washington DC, hopefully that those children and those educators who tragically died, didn't die in vain," said Dooher.

Albert Lea social studies teacher Jerry Bizjak grew up in a hunting family, with several guns in his home. He says he wouldn't be comfortable bringing a weapon into his classroom.

"It's asking for a lot of trouble. It's difficult to get in here. There's quite a few newer security measures that the school has done the last few years. So as far as me having a gun, or other teachers, I think that would be going down the wrong path," said Bizjak. He also says that securing a gun would be an issue as well.

"I asked some of the same questions to my older students. And they were all unanimous. No, that would be a really bad idea just as far as the security of the gun itself and the teacher's ability in kind of a hectic day to always be mindful of that," said Bizjak.

The Minnesota teacher's union agrees.

"I think we're creating more problems by arming more people in schools. If we need to have a police officer there, which some schools need to have, that's where it belongs; with trained officers. But we don't want our schools to become shooting ranges and more tragedy that's going to happen," said Tom Dooher, the President of Education Minnesota.

The Minnesota Chapter of the Gun Owners' Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA) has a different view.

"The most important thing in our lives, our children, we trust to these schools and we want these schools to do everything that they can to keep our children safe. They're acting in local parentis. They're acting in the place of the parent. And I want to know that my teachers, and my schools are doing absolutely everything that I would do to keep my children safe," said Andrew Rothman, the Vice President of GOCRA.

Guns in schools would be a way to react to a situation. But what about prevention? Guns and mental health have gone hand in hand in debates since Sandy Hook.

"We are 48th in the country on school counselor ratio to students. So it's 750 to 1 counselor. We need to identify those kids and we need to help them, so that we can take care of these issues before they become large, and become tragic," said Dooher.

"It would be teriffic if we could find that one in one billion who is going to snap and go on a murderous rampage, but that's not going to be a be the solution either as hard as we try. We're simply not going to stop every single person who tries. But once they try, we need to stop it right away," said Rothman.

While President Obama and lawmakers across the country work to find a gun-reform solution, the debates will continue. But everyone seems to be focused on the same goal; we need to keep our children safe.

"Violence in our society isn't simple. There isn't a simple, silver-bullet that will take care of everything. Wouldn't it be better if we offered the people that take care of our children some means to offer some effective resistance?" said Rothman.

"I think the discussion is going to happen in Washington DC, hopefully that those children and those educators who tragically died, didn't die in vain," said Dooher.