Arming Teachers in the Face of Violence

OCTOBER 5, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:00 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- After a principle was shot in a Wisconsin High School last week, certain lawmakers have proposed arming teachers and school officials. They say it would provide teachers the ability to intervene in cases where students or intruders threaten violence against others on school property. Dinah McClurg has been teaching for nearly 20 years now and after hearing the news, she says she completely disagrees with carrying a gun.

"I think students need someone they can look up to, someone they can turn to when there's trouble, but I don't like having a gun. I did not come into education to think about the discipline," says McClurg, a longtime teacher of the Nettleton School District.

Just Wednesday of this week at the same school district where she teaches, a student brought an explosive device similar to a Molotov cocktail to school. We asked about her fears as a teacher after the recent rise of school violence.

"The fact that it was taken care of in 20 minutes, that's amazing to me and that makes me feel safe. Having a gun on campus would scare me," says McClurg.

She says as a teacher and a mother, she feels putting a gun in the hands of school officials and teachers would cause more accidents than prevent.

"I don't want to know that someone could accidentally touch that gun and have something happen. We are not sky marshalls, we are teachers and that's where the focus needs to be," says McClurg.

McClurg also says she feels the student-teacher relationships will forever be changed.

"It would really change the face of education that we know. Think of the teachers that you have had relationships with and how much you cared for them and how close you felt to them, that you could tell them anything and I just don't see how that would help," says McClurg.

She says putting a gun on the side of every teacher and school official simply isn't the answer to ending school violence.

"We need to look for a root cause. Something is causing the children of today to strike out. I know we have bullying policies now, I know we have counseling. That's where we need to go," says McClurg.

Wisconsin lawmakers were the ones who originally proposed this measure. There is no word as to whether this is being discussed among Arkansas legislators.