By Randi Weingarten
Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on President Trump’s proposals to arm teachers:
“I spoke to 60,000 educators last night in a telephone town hall. The response was universal, even from educators who are gun owners: Teachers don’t want to be armed, we want to teach. We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be, sharp shooters; no amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15.
“One would have thought, after the president’s listening session, that he wouldn’t have put the agenda of gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association over our students, educators and schools. The tweets today applauding the NRA, and ignoring educators and the students themselves, were despicable and diversionary. Teachers and school staff need to ensure schools are safe sanctuaries and not armed fortresses.
“Trump wants to spend money on bonuses for armed teachers yet has cut summer school and after-school programs, and he argues we can’t afford to pay for school safety programs, school nurses and counselors, and other programs that help kids.
“How would arming teachers even work? Would kindergarten teachers be carrying guns in holsters? Is every classroom now going to have a gun closet? Will it be locked? When you have seconds to act when you hear the code for an active shooter, is a teacher supposed to use those seconds getting her gun instead of getting her students to safety? Anyone who pushes arming teachers doesn’t understand teachers and doesn’t understand our schools. Adding more guns to schools may create an illusion of safety, but in reality it would make our classrooms less safe.”