The Tennessee Education Association said this week that it is neutral on gun laws.
But the organization did release a statement after some legislators proposed allowing teachers to carry guns in Tennessee schools. The proposals followed the Dec. 14 school shooting at Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 students, six adults, the gunman, and his mother.
Here’s the TEA statement:
Notwithstanding the Sandy Hook tragedy, schools are still among the safest places children can be. As caring adults, we can and must do all we can to ensure all children have safe learning environments. At the same time, we should not rush to take extreme action without careful study of what actually improves school safety.
Educators want and need continued training to help them spot potential mental health needs, bullying and high-risk behaviors. They should be trained in crisis management.
In addition, every school should have school safety procedures that are widely understood by staff and students and regularly practiced.
Students deserve to have access to specialized school personnel who are trained and available to support their behavioral, social and emotional needs. Too often, school counselors are assigned to handle student scheduling and testing coordination duties, leaving them little time for counseling the students who need them.
Every school—elementary, middle and high school—should have a specially trained School Resource Officer. Today, many middle and high schools have such SROs, but elementary schools often do not.
Meanwhile, after refraining from comment for a week, the National Rifle Association called on Congress to spend whatever is necessary to put an armed police officer in every school in the United States.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre said in a Friday news conference.
LaPierre was critical of gun-free school zones, the media, and violent video games, films, and music videos.
He said every school in America should immediately deploy an armed security protection program, and the NRA could help with its model National School Shield Emergency Response Program, led by former congressman Asa Hutchinson, who is also former administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The remarks by LaPierre are available here.