Our PA State Senator Andy Dinniman, Minority Chair of the state Senate’s education committee is set to vote on Senate Bill 383 this morning. As the issue of school safety stemming from school shootings continues, some lawmakers are looking at offensive measures to help protect students. Labeled as “providing for protection and defense of students”, Senate Bill 383 would allow school personnel to carry loaded weapons in public schools.
Anyone that has followed Community Matters over the years knows how I feel about guns and gun control so please know my position is biased against Senate Bill 383. The argument is that if teachers were allowed to carry guns in the classrooms that they have a better chance of protecting students and themselves. Opposing view, including my own, would suggest that students will be afraid knowing that their teachers are carrying concealed weapons and may actually be distracted by the idea.
School should be a safe place and is it not possible that providing a teacher with a gun will make students afraid of going to school? Is arming teachers the answer to school safety? According to PA State Senator Donald White (R-41), the sponsor of Senate Bill 383, he says it would provide another option to improve the safety and security of children, teachers and school staff.
Should anyone who is trained, licensed and meets all the requirements to carry a gun be allowed to carry one – including teachers in our public schools? I would need concrete evidence to convince me that arming our public school teachers is going to increase student safety. Rather than keeping our students safer, isn’t it possible that bringing loaded guns into the classrooms can actually increase the risk to our children?
Should Senate Bill 383 move forward and eventually become law, it would allow local school districts to establish policy allowing personnel who have a concealed-carry permit to bring guns to school.
I would be very curious what parents of school-age children think of this proposed legislation. Where will the TE School Board stand on Senate Bill 383 — with four seats on the school board on the November ballot, it may be important to know the candidate’s views on “guns in the classroom”.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, we saw an immediate reaction across the country regarding school safety. The Newtown, CT shooting of innocent children impacted school district’s safety policies. In TE, we saw the implementation of the District-wide school fencing project. Will “guns in the classroom” be similar — hire a “safety consultant” to make certain of the intended outcome?
To contact PA Senator Andy Dinniman regarding Bill 383, Office: One North Church, West Chester, PA Phone 610-692-2112, Mon – Fri: 8:30 AM – 5 PM.