The Herald-Leader reports that the Pike County School Board has voted to allow certain carefully selected and trained teacher volunteers to become armed protectors of their schools.
Candidates will get a background and drug tests, mental evaluation, and a qualification course with firearms training. The Pike County Sheriff’s Office will provide this for free, keeping overall costs very low.
Apparently, putting armed law enforcement officers in all Pike County schools would cost $1 million annually, so the armed teacher approach should be far more efficient and affordable.
Some of the supporters of the proposal are interesting. Nationally, Democrats generally seem opposed to arming teachers, but the Herald-Leader reports state Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, who attended the board’s meeting, said:
“This program … could be a model for the rest of the state and, possibly, the country.”
In addition, Timothy Cline, an English teacher at Pike County Central High School, supported the effort at the board meeting, saying:
“This is not an action to force teachers to do something they’re uncomfortable with, or are unwilling to do. It’s a big decision, granted, but it’s one we need to make now.”
Cline’s comments are noteworthy because there has been coverage in the media saying teachers don’t want their colleagues to be armed. Clearly, that negative attitude isn’t a universal sentiment among all in the teaching world, and this sentiment might vary between major metropolitan areas where police are usually close by to rural areas like Pike County where law enforcement might be located a good distance from a given school.
Right now, numerous armed teachers are defending their schools in other states. Fox News reports:
“Schools in Texas, Indiana and even California started arming up after the fatal shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.”
The Fox article points to yet another program for arming teachers in Ohio, as well.
Soon, Pike County Schools may be joining those who are taking a practical approach to a very difficult problem – defending our kids with methods that are practical and affordable.
By the way, there is a statewide effort in Kentucky known as Protecting our Students and Teachers (POST) to help districts and schools that want to set up programs for armed and trained teachers. POST had done a lot of research on how to do this well, including examining similar programs now present in 16 other states. You can learn more at the POST web site.
Also, POST is hosting an informational public meeting in Northern Kentucky next week, and here are details on that:
- WHEN: Monday, March 5th @ 6:00 pm
- WHERE: Student Center at First Church of Christ, Burlington Campus
- ADDRESS: 6080 Camp Ernst Road, Burlington, KY
POST informs us that right now Ohio has over 76 counties (out of 88) with armed school employees. Ohio already has trained 1,300 armed school employees and has more than that on the waiting list that cannot be accommodated fast enough.
Meanwhile, since even the Pike County program is still in development, Kentucky has none. It’s time for Kentucky to seriously evaluate this practical and cost-effective deterrent to more chaos in our schools.