- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2018


So, President Trump wants teachers to strap themselves with firearms and get extra pay in the process, eh?

He wants to stake a claim on federal policy for gun control and school safety following last week’s massacre in Florida’s Broward County.

Then, with all deliberate speed please draw his attention to this gem, courtesy of Bloomberg. com: “The contract that covers teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman killed 17 people, is silent about school shootings. The most pertinent safety language reads: ‘There shall be compliance with all applicable local, state and federal laws relating to health and safety of personnel. Whenever an unsafe or unhealthy condition exists, the employee aware of the condition, shall report to the principal who shall attempt to correct the problem.’”

An interpretation: It’s a school-by-school decision; pass the buck ASAP.

Another interpretation: Teachers do not want to be armed; pass the buck ASAP.

SEE ALSO: Armed deputy in Florida school shooting waited outside, never tried to engage gunman

Or teachers + guns = Bull Connor at every schoolhouse door in America.

So, let’s cut to the chase.

In the name of safety, our traditional public schools mimic Catholic and other religious schools, and private schools by mandating school uniforms, and our charter schools began joining the crowd in the 1990s.

We also arm our public schools with security personnel, metal detectors and scanners.

And after some school authorities began noticing a rise in crime and a fashion trend toward see-through and mesh clothing in the 1990s, they latched on.

Baltimore schools were among the first in line with student uniforms, while Annapolis High School came aboard in the 2013-14 school year. Annapolis High Principal Deborah Williams’ message was “We want them to know that we are paying attention to what they are doing.”

Of course, “them” and “they” referenced students, students like Nikolas Cruz, who had become practically invisible since he no longer attended Stoneman Douglas.

Broward County teachers and authorities had other safety matters to tend to, such as making sure students aren’t wearing bedroom slippers, or adorning themselves with heavy-linked chains or collars with spikes that could cause injury. And students are warned to cover up their “private body parts.” (So no one else claim ownership.)

And that Broward teachers contract that Bloomberg reported on? Well, it’s not atypical.

It seems teachers unions, whose rank-and-file include current and former paraprofessionals and principals, prefer not to reach down to the students’ level and risk their own health or safety.

That broad language is typical of most teacher contracts in Florida, Brian Phillips, the director of organizing for the Florida Education Association, told Bloomberg.

So, stop dawdling with tweets and town halls on federal options regarding armed teachers, who, like police officers, would then be strapped even after they leave the schoolhouse.

Besides, additional federal overreach is the last thing our schoolchildren need. Students’ home away from home are already overburdened by laws, rules and regulations at every government level.

Do not tack on federal school-firearms policy.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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