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Lawmakers Discuss if Guns in Classrooms Could Make Schools Safer

December 19, 2012

During a radio interview Tuesday, Governor Bob McDonnell suggest training teachers to fight back, in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, CT. "If people were armed, not just the police officer, but other school officials were trained and chose to have a weapon,certainly there would have been an opportunity to stop aggressors from coming into the school," McDonnell said.

State representatives attending the legislative forum at the University of Virginia weighed in Wednesday on the possibility of school officials carrying weapons.

"I think it's a really bad idea to have school personnel carrying weapons in schools," said Del. David Toscano. "I think it raises the stakes in the event that there is some kind of confrontation and I think it would be a big mistake if we went down that road."

The Virginia Education Association released a statement Wednesday, call the increase of access to weapons "a step in the wrong direction". VEA President, Meg Gruber, wrote "I've not heard from a single teacher or administrator who said that they want to go to school armed with a gun."

But some lawmakers argue guns aren't going away, and arming school officials would provide extra protection. "I'm a second amendment supporter and a gun supporter, " said Del. Rob Bell. "We will review the issue of carrying guns on school property coming up in the General Assembly."

The General Assembly will reconvene in Richmond January 9 for the 2013 session.

This is the official statement from Virginia Education Association's President Meg Gruber:

"First, we must not lose sight of the fact that schools are very safe places for children, and for staff members who whork there. But there is a limit to how much you can do to prevent a random act of violence such as occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary. From the details that I have heard so far, I'm not sure there was more they could have done to prevent a tragedy. The actions of school staff members, from all accounts, were heroic."

"Some, including Gov. McDonnell, are suggesting that teachers and principals might be armed in response to what happened at Newton. There are a lot of isses we need to explore in the aftermath of this tragedy - but the solutions are not going to come from increasing access to weapons. That's a step in the wrong direction. I've not heard from a single teacher or administrator who said that they want to go to school armed with a gun. They realize it just doesn't make good sense. On the other hand, many educators are concerned about the proliferation of guns and availability of high-powered assault weapons. We need to give that very careful consideration, and I hope our elected officials are prepared to show leadership on this issue."

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