GOP reckless idea to arm schoolteachers is no solution


It’s back again, but it’s still bad. It will always be bad.

I have a simple question for Republicans in Tallahassee who say arming our schoolteachers will make classrooms safer.

Can they please tell us about the last time any of them were actually inside a high school like Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland?

I’m not talking about taking a short, escorted tour with smiling school officials. They should stick around a while and see what it’s like when classes are changing, or a fight breaks out in the cafeteria.

They should experience what it’s like when the phone is ringing off the hook in the front office and a student has a medical emergency. Parents are waiting impatiently to scream at an overstressed teacher or administrator.

And people are coming in and out of the building like it is rush hour. Maybe this all occurs on a day with a lot of substitute teachers.

That’s daily life in many of Florida’s schools. It’s not always a smooth operation.

If a depraved individual bent on mayhem entered the school undetected, then what? That unthinkable moment would be fraught with chaos, screaming, and panic. Why do these lawmakers believe a teacher would be cool enough to stop a slaughter?

Introducing more guns into the system exponentially increases the chance for tragedy. It is reckless, dangerous and irresponsible.

What kind of weapon would teachers have if this law goes through? Accused Parkland murderer Nikolas Cruz had an AR-15.

How would these extra guns be secured?

Lawmakers can mandate that they stay under lock and key. Good luck with that. What happens if an industrious student picks that lock and gets his hands on a gun?

Oh, wait.

State Sen. and total NRA tool Dennis Baxley said no teacher will be required to pack heat.

Don’t we all sleep the sleep of angels knowing that?

But hey, I’m just a columnist. Listen to the professional educators who believe guns and schools are incompatible.

The Florida PTA said it “strongly opposes any measure that allows teachers to be armed on school campuses. Our teachers are in the classroom to teach and inspire our children. Florida PTA supports trained law enforcement officers as the only individuals armed on our school campuses.”

The Florida teachers’ union is vehemently opposed. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association is against this.

What gives lawmakers the copyright on wisdom about this? Lawmakers just parrot the NRA talking point that more guns are the answer, no matter what professional educators say.

Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of the slaughter in Parkland. Seventeen people died that day and 17 more were wounded. First responders failed to stop the massacre. A veteran, trained school resource officer failed.

Yet, on the floor of the Legislature, Republicans argue an armed teacher would have made all the difference.

The idea for arming school teachers came up last year, and it was bad policy then.

It’s back again, but it’s still bad.

It will always be bad.

The people pushing for this have lost their grip on reality. But in Tallahassee, the mindset about guns never changes. So, what do we expect?

Joe Henderson has a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It’s a treat to have a front-row seat for it all. He appears courtesy of


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