Texas

Arming teachers in Texas draws support after Santa Fe shooting, new poll shows

Santa Fe was the latest site of a mass school shooting in Texas. Fifty-one percent of Texas voters support putting guns in the hands of teachers and school officials, arming them during the school day, according to a new poll released Thursday.
Santa Fe was the latest site of a mass school shooting in Texas. Fifty-one percent of Texas voters support putting guns in the hands of teachers and school officials, arming them during the school day, according to a new poll released Thursday. AP file

Fifty-one percent of Texas voters support putting guns in the hands of teachers and school officials, arming them during the school day, according to a new poll released Thursday.

And that amount grew to 54 percent among Texas parents who have children under 18 in public schools, according to the Quinnipiac Poll.

"The tragedy at the Santa Fe school south of Houston changed few opinions among Texas voters about gun control," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. "While 51 percent of Texas voters want to arm teachers and other school officials, (more) voters want armed security officers in the schools."

In fact, 87 percent of those polled said they are in favor of having armed security officers in schools.

This comes in the wake of the Santa Fe school shooting May 18 that left 10 dead and more injured near Houston. Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student, is being held without bond in the Galveston County Jail on charges of capital murder.

On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled a school safety plan — after holding several roundtable discussions with law enforcers, families of victims and others impacted by school or church shootings — geared to make Texas schools safer.

Abbott's plan includes paying for training anyone interested in joining the school marshal program, which trains and arms school employees.

“When an active shooter situation arises, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds,” Abbott said this week. “Trained security personnel can make all the difference.”

The Texas State Teachers Association was among those that oppose Abbott’s plan to arm more teachers through the school marshal plans.

"Teachers are trained to teach and to nurture, not double up as security guards," a TSTA statement read.

Other results

At the same time, 64 percent of Texas voters say they support holding parents legally responsible if their child commits a crime with the parent's gun and 64 percent support laws requiring that all guns be kept in a locked place.

And 49 percent of Texas voters say they support stricter gun laws, which is down from 55 percent who expressed support in April.

But Texans for the most part are united in requiring background checks for all gun buyers, as 93 percent of those polled noted.

The poll was conducted May 23-29 and surveyed 961 Texas voters. The margin of error for the poll, which reached out to voters through both landlines and cellphones, is 3.8 percent.

President Donald Trump spoke with families of Santa Fe victims Thursday during a condolence and campaign stop in Texas.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

Dispatch audio of the first dispatch call and when police officers enter Santa Fe High School during the school shooting. Audio source: Broadcastify

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