As students around the country respond to the Parkland school shooting, President Trump is raising the idea of arming teachers.
Just like gun reform as a whole, there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue.
In Ohio, the idea of arming teachers and school staff is not new. Some volunteer teachers and staff have been armed for nearly two years in Coshocton County.
"They went away to intense training they got their CCW's we did a selection between them and us of the right teacher the right fit and they trained them and we work with them on a constant basis," said Coshocton Sheriff ,Timothy Rogers.
Parent Jennifer Nelson approves, "I feel much safer knowing my kids are protected by the teachers here in the school."
The Buckeye Firearms Association sponsors another program, FASTER Saves Lives. They've trained nearly 1,300 teachers and staff in 12 states including educators in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties. The training includes tactical active shooter training as well as emergency first response.
Member Chris Cerino says participants must compete CCW training before they can be accepted into the program which is free to schools although participants must pay travel, food and accommodations.
The next classes planned for June have already been filled.
The National Education Association which represents three million teachers nationally came out opposed to arming teachers.
From NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:
“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.
“We owe it to the students and school personnel, who’ve lost their lives at schools and on campuses across the country, to work together so that we can thoughtfully and carefully develop common sense solutions that really will save lives.”
But the Ohio Education Association is leaving the decision up to individual schools.
OEA statement on addressing concerns about school safety
The following can be attributed to OEA President, Becky Higgins:
“We believe that teachers should not be asked to serve a dual role as educators and as school safety personnel armed with weapons. This is consistent with the views of the law enforcement community that putting guns in the hands of school employees is not the answer to improving school safety. When law enforcement officers respond to a school shooting, they can’t readily determine who is a “good guy” with a gun and who isn’t.
In any event, if school districts want to consider having their employees carry guns, it must be done in consultation with teachers and education support personnel. This will ensure that those who have an intimate understanding of daily school routines and the students they serve are heard. We also believe that parents, administrators and local law enforcement have a role to play in determining the best means for ensuring safe and orderly school environments.
We also urge that appropriate mental health services be provided for students as part of any program to prevent school violence.
Lastly, we call on elected officials to make sure there is adequate funding for school districts that may want to have local law enforcement officers in their schools. That’s a better way to go than arming school employees.”
The Ohio Education Association represents 125,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio's public schools, colleges and universities.
Meanwhile University of Akron Sophomore Tess Casper and Junior Jasmine Holt disagree with more guns in schools. Casper called it a liability issue and Holt, who plans to teach kindergarten says she can't imagine have a gun around 5-year-olds.