GREAT FALLS – One week ago, 17 students were killed during a school shooting in Florida.
President Trump on Thursday doubled down on his calls to arm teachers in schools across the country in an effort to help prevent such mass shootings. He suggested during the administration’s most recent White House listening session with state and local officials that teachers who were trained in being “adept at guns” could receive a bonus for their training efforts.
“We have to harden our schools, not soften them up. A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for the ice cream. Like here I am — take me,” he said. “Shooters won’t walk into a school if 20% of people have guns.”
Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Lacey says the school district is continually evaluating their policies and procedures when an incident happens.
We asked Lacey and she believes that arming teachers is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
Lacey says they should be focusing on bringing in more mental health counselors.
She also says they should be expanding different programs within the school system so students have more resources and parents are also more involved.
Lacey says putting more guns in schools does nothing to prevent lethal violence.
“Think of the training requirements that it would take for a teacher to feel comfortable. Our own school resource officers have to train on their weapons twice a year, they are practicing all the time. I just do not think this is where we want our teachers spending their time. I think we want our teachers teaching and law enforcement who train in this out training,” Lacey said.
Lacey says they would welcome more school resource officers but they do not have the resources to expand it.
She also encourages students to speak up if they see anything unusual.
Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News