MEA, Lansing superintendent oppose arming teachers

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) -- Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL., there have been calls from some, including President Donald Trump, to arm teachers.

It's a controversial proposal, but one President Trump has said will make teachers more comfortable in the end.

"If they have the aptitude I think a concealed permit for having teachers and letting people know that there are people in the building with a gun," President Trump said.

But teachers, both nationally and in Michigan, disagree. The Michigan Education Association said confronting an active shooter should be left to law enforcement.

"More guns in school isn't a real solution," Doug Pratt, Director of Public Affairs with the MEA said. "If it's a question of keeping students safe, the way to do it is by making sure that law enforcement professionals are the only ones who are allowed to have a gun in the school."

Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul agreed, saying she's concerned not only about diverting public funds away from the classroom, but also the added pressure on teachers.

"Teachers just have so much responsibility as it is already, that asking them now to take on the role of a law enforcement agent just feels a little over-the-top and over-engineered," she said.

Pratt said the focus should be on heading off the violence before it happens.

"More counselors and social workers to address issues, smaller class sizes to get to know students, better school safety procedures and more school security officers. These are real solutions to keep students safe," he said.

Pratt also said the issue of violence in schools is not one that schools can solve on their own. He said lawmakers also need to address mental health, as well as have a conversation about what he calls reasonable gun laws.

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