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New bill aims to arm teachers

By Megan Terlecky, News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, megan.terlecky@kesq.com
Published On: Jan 31 2013 07:17:41 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2013 09:03:19 PM CST
LA QUINTA, Calif. -

A southland lawmaker wants to arm teachers in schools much the same way air marshals protect the flying public.

Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly introduced a new bill that would create a school marshal's program in California.

It will allow education funds to be spent on weapons training for teachers and other school employees.

There's definitely some mixed reaction.  Some parents we talked with like the idea of extra protection for their children, but teachers we talked with are  against it.

Mona Davidson, the president of  Desert Sands Teacher Association says, "I think it's the stupidest idea I have ever heard."

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly says teaching school staff to carry a gun will deter possible shooters.

"Basically you have a proposal to protect the kids instead of taking away guns from law-abiding Californians," said Donnelly.

The Republican lawmaker from San Bernardino County says he doesn't want what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School to happen again.

"We have a moral obligation that the next Vicki Soto who is faced with inexplicable evil that she not be left defenseless," said Donnelly.

This so-called school marshal could be anyone, from a janitor to the principal. The idea is that students and other teachers won't know who is carrying a concealed weapon, giving the armed person the element of surprise in the event of a shooting.

Shannon Frandsen, a parent, says, "Very comforting to know that my children have one extra step of protection especially in the schools."

Geoffrey McManus, a student, says, "I really like the idea, it's different 'cause then I know some sort of security.  We have security guards, but they are not all armed, an armed guy comes onto campus we are not really protected.  It's just one of those things that gives you a little bit more security."

Desert Sands Teacher's Association says it's a waste of money.

"I think is just silly, just plain silly.  What we need to do is limit and restrict guns and limit and restrict the big magazine.  We just need to take a step back and say we don't need all of these guns out there its not conducive to good education.  We are teachers we are educators we are not armed guards," said Davidson.

Davidson says one teacher with a gun on a large campus won't make a difference, and she says it may do more harm.

"When you've got students around who's to say you are not going to accidentally shoot a student," said Davidson.

Davidson says arming teachers won't solve anything.  "The idea of having anybody armed is a little scary, we've seen cases like Columbine had armed guards, didn't stop Columbine," she said.

Davidson says the solution is bringing back school psychologists and counselors to help troubled students.

"If we could get back to the idea of we are not just teaching a test score we are teaching a person.  We are teaching the entire child," said Davidson.

If this bill passes, the school marshal program would be up to each school district to implement.  All of the teacher who volunteer would go through extensive background checks before they were allowed to carry a weapon.