Teachers Learn How to Shoot Guns to Protect Classrooms
On Friday, South Dakota’s governor signed a bill allowing the state's school districts to arm teachers and other personnel with guns. North Carolina educators and state law makers are also looking at legislation to prevent tragedies such as the Connecticut Elementary school shooting in December.
More than 30 teachers and educators from the Tar Heel state signed up to take a free concealed carry class on Saturday at the Rowan County Wildlife Association in Salisbury. Cindy Barnhardt, an administrator for Cabarrus County Schools, says this was the first time she shot a gun.
“Where we work at, the office that we are in, we have no protection. It’s open to the public and if an angry parent or someone comes in, we have no protection. We have nothing,” says Barnhardt.
Some N.C. lawmakers also are looking at ways to make schools safer. Senate Bill 146 would allow some employees and volunteers at private schools to carry weapons. House Representative Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County is proposing another bill that would allow principals and teachers to carry firearms at public schools.
“The goal is to have protection for the students without having to wait for the police show up after a bunch of people have already been shot. If that principal has a concealed carry permit, he can do it, or if teachers have them and the principle doesn’t, the principle can authorize them to do it,” says Pittman.
Bill Shapcott, an assistant principal at Hickory Ridge Middle School in Cabarrus County, says he will carry a gun at his school if the law allows him to.
“These shooters are just going in knowing that no one there is going to stop them. They have taken their own lives when they lose that power of control and someone comes in to stop them. If those principles, assistant principals or even teachers, if the laws get passed, maybe people will rethinking about having a bad day and taking it out on children,” says Shapcott.
This is the second concealed carry class offered in two weeks by the Rowan County Wildlife Association for teachers and school administrators.
Participants must complete eight hours of instruction, including one hour on the shooting range. Educators then receive a certificate that they can use to apply for a concealed carry permit at their local sheriff’s office. Trainer Claude Paris says to pass, a person must hit their target at least 21 out of 30 times.
“These gun free zones, that's where a lot of these shootings are occurring. We trust these teachers and administrators with our kids and we are trying to give them some education,” says Paris.
John, a high school teacher in Rowan County who refused to give his name says he plans on applying for his gun permit. He says, “With one officer or even two school resource officers, they are going to have to try to run down the hallway, but if there are six teachers who are armed they are not sure which classroom to go into and they might think twice about going into a school that has more than one armed person in that school.”
But not everyone who attended the training believes that arming teachers with guns is the answer. Beth Cook is a middle school chorus teacher with the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
“I guess my fear is that when people get upset or angry or afraid, sometimes it’s hard to make good decisions about what you are going to do. I think it is a little bit scary to think about,” says Cook.
The Rowan County Wildlife Association says it had to turn teachers away from Saturday’s session because of limited space. But officials with the organization say they are looking into sponsoring more concealed carry training for educators in the near future.