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Educators oppose letting teachers carry firearms

In the wake of deadly school shootings around the country, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has suggested it would be worth considering proposals from lawmakers to allow teachers to carry firearms in schools.

Democratic legislative candidate Matt Hill, who is seeking to unseat Republican incumbent Nathan Cooper in the 158th District Missouri House race, has suggested that allowing teachers to carry guns could be a way to prevent school violence.

Hill said he has a license to carry a concealed weapon.

"Anyone qualified, competent to carry should be allowed to do that anywhere, including a school," Hill said at a recent candidates forum.

But local educators strongly disagree.

"The last thing we need is more guns in schools," said Central High School principal Dr. Mike Cowan. "My bet is it would incite students to bring guns to school."

Cowan said armed teachers wouldn’t guarantee school safety.

The Cape Girardeau police officer stationed at the high school is armed. But Cowan said the officer is trained in how to use a firearm in emergency situations. That’s far different than simply letting a teacher pack a weapon, he said.

Jackson schools superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson agreed. "If it is necessary to have weapons, it should be by a police officer rather than a school official," he said.

Teachers are hired to teach, not provide security, he said.

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