Arlington students speak out about guns on campus

Posted Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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sanders Since the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last month, in which 20 students and six educators were killed, there has been much discussion about arming teachers and other school personnel to protect our children.

The Cleburne school board has instructed the superintendent to explore the idea of permitting staff members with state licenses to carry a conceal weapon to bring their guns to "gun-free" campuses.

Some residents of Arlington have asked that district's school board to consider such a policy, even though trustees rejected such a proposal last year. Two board members will participate in a panel discussion on the issue 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Cokers Barbecue, 2612 W. Pioneer Parkway.

But what do students think about guns in school? That's a question Arlington's Martin High School English teacher William W. Thorburn put to his students, and they responded in letters to the Star-Telegram.

Of the 106 responses, 17 were in favor of arming teachers , 78 opposed and 11 were somewhere in-between. Here's a sampling:

Kelsie Ryman -- "I wouldn't want any of my teachers carrying a gun while I was in their classroom. They could become very angry/irritated and use it as a scare tactic."

Brittney Phillips -- "Teachers with guns? What a grand idea. Not ... I believe people are overreacting to the recent events in Connecticut."

Casey Gottshalk -- "As a high school student, it is easy to realize that there are some teachers that you wouldn't feel safe with if they had a gun with them during the day. Teachers are just as likely to snap and start a shooting as any other student."

Page Landers -- "With the proper training, a teacher with a gun is much like an officer at any local police department.... I personally would feel privileged going to a school with guns in the hands of the people I trust and look up to."

John Patrik Simpson -- I believe we should have trained personnel with concealed guns on campus, but these people should not be our teachers, but our security officers."

Mark Montesdecoca -- "There are many pros and cons to both sides of the discussion, but I personally think that instead of having a gun, the teachers should have a Taser."

Reese Jensen -- "I personally would feel way more secure knowing that if need be my teacher could protect me."

Austin White -- "I believe teachers should be able to carry firearms after going through training, psychological testing and accuracy evaluations.... So I think if you trust a teacher enough to let them spend six hours a day with your kid, then you should be OK with them protecting your child's life with a gun!"

Allyson Dunnihoo -- By giving the teachers guns you could make the situation worse, because you never know if the teacher will go nuts and start shooting people."

Ethan Levins -- "I don't want to imagine what would happen if a teacher got super mad and had a gun with them, because as a kid who has made a few teachers extremely mad, I feel safer with my teacher not having access to a weapon."

Tristan Winn -- "If you allow teachers to carry, you're one mental breakdown, or a student with a cunning plan, away from a mass shooting. Instead, increase security measures such as buzzer systems at the entrances or background checks on all visitors' driver's licenses before being allowed to enter inside the main building."

Madeline Maxwell -- "My recommended solution is to have systems with lights and sirens in each classroom for immediate communication. There should be a security guard at each campus entrance as a deterrent. Visitors must be required to show ID and a valid reason for visiting the school."

Zane C. Holbrook -- "I know my parents wouldn't want me to go to a school that had a sign saying, 'You don't need to worry about your children because our teachers are packing heat.'"

Bob Ray Sanders' column appears Sundays and Wednesdays.

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Twitter: @BobRaySanders

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