Local school staff respond to proposal to arm teachers

A deadly school shooting in Florida has reignited an argument over how to better protect children on school campuses. President Donald Trump said it's time to consider allowing some teachers to arm themselves.

"Not everybody has the aptitude for a gun, but, if they have the aptitude, I think a concealed permit for teachers and letting people know there are people in the building with a gun. You won't, in my opinion; you won't have these shooters because these people are cowards," Trump said.

Chrissy Weidner, an elementary school nurse at a school district in Williamson County, said she's all for that. “I love those children like they're my own and somebody needs to protect them,” Weidner said.

While Weidner said she would rather a police officer respond to an active shooter situation, she also said if it meant saving children's lives, she would be able to pull the trigger.

“I would be willing to if I needed to defend them,” said Weidner.

Texas State Teachers Association President and former school principal Noel Candelaria said the majority of teachers tell him they couldn't ever bring themselves to take a life.

“They become our kids and so I can't imagine a moment where all of a sudden we'd be confronted with having to pull a gun and potentially pull the trigger on one of our own former students or current students,” Candelaria said.

Candelaria does not support arming teachers. Instead, he said legislators and the federal government should look at adding more resource officers to campuses.

“There are professionals in our communities who that is their job, that is what they're trained to do, and provide the resources so the schools can hire the right professionals to do that job and let teachers teach,” said Candelaria.

But Chrissy said even with a resource officer on staff, it could take several minutes before that officer can find the gunman.

“I believe if you have several staff members scattered throughout the building, you're covered much better than one resource officer who may or may not be at your school,” Weidner said.

That's important to Chrissy because she worries every second spent waiting for help could mean one more child lost to gunfire. “We're very vulnerable with our children, our most precious assets, we're vulnerable with our children,” said Weidner.

Candelaria worries about the effects the proposal could have on some teachers. He points out that officers are trained to handle shooters and even they can suffer from PTSD after taking down a suspect.

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