Dallas Morning News Editorial: Middle ground between arming teachers and banning guns from schools

April 16, 2013

All kinds of legislative proposals have emerged to tighten school safety since the December massacre in Newtown, Conn. Some lawmakers want to add lots of guns and turn teachers into frontline defenders. Others want tighter restrictions to make campuses as gun-free as possible.

There has to be a more sensible middle-ground approach, and we think a proposal by Dallas Republican Rep. Jason Villalba strikes the right tone by creating secret marshal systems similar to those providing emergency security on U.S. airliners.

It is a supremely bad idea to have large numbers of teachers carrying weapons. Their job is to teach, not serve as armed enforcers. Confrontations between students and teachers are a sad reality of today’s public education system, and the potential for mishaps grows exponentially when pistol-packing educators are added to the equation.

Many school districts, including Dallas ISD, designate police officers as the sole individuals authorized to use armed force. But not all school districts can afford full-time police protection. They need better options than to leave staffers and students completely unprotected. With no one able to respond quickly in those long minutes before police arrive, the gunman is free to kill at will.

Villalba has authored a bill, HB 1009, that answers this newspaper’s qualms about guns in schools but also helps ensure that a qualified educator can react instantly against an armed attacker and help minimize casualties.

To read the entire editorial, please click here.