CON: Guns in teachers' hands would do more harm than good

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Dec. 30, 2012 at 6:30 a.m.
Updated Dec. 31, 2012 at 6:31 a.m.

Lisa Morris

Lisa Morris

Safety on school campuses remains a pinnacle focus for school districts in the Crossroads, especially in the wake of one of the nation's deadliest school shootings in Connecticut.

The idea of guns on campus, be it with gun-toting staff or increased armed guards, is not at the forefront of discussion. Any improvements that could be made to make schools safer is of importance, said Sgt. Jason Turner, school resource officer supervisor with the Victoria Police Department.

"I think our security is top-notch. I think security is right where it needs to be," said Turner, who has been with the department for 10 years. "Security is on the front of everybody's mind. That's human nature."

Personally, Turner does not believe teachers licensed to carry a concealed handgun are as "prepared" as officers for an active shooter scenario.

Still, schools would need to have several discussions until any decision on enhancing school safety is made, he said.

Capt. Abel Arriazola, with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, began supervising the sheriff's office's school resource officer program this school year. He said he has no opinion until the school administration takes a stance on the issue.

"I'm confident that we are doing what we can with the resources that we have," Arriazola said. "We're always looking for any avenues of improvement."

Early intervention and watchful eyes on campus have kept the schools safe so far, Arriazola and Turner said. Each person on campus plays a significant role in spotting suspicious activity. Students and staff are also trained on how to respond to a school shooting.

Now that the sheriff's office has joined the school resource program, safety is even stronger, Arriazola said.

Arriazola cites a shooting on the Victoria College campus in September 2011. The incident was handled well, he said, and nobody was injured. This, he said, is a prime example of how multiple agencies are on the same wavelength and prepared to handle such scenarios.

"Those are the tough calls," Arriazola said. "But the situation was stabilized quickly."

Lisa Morris and her mother, Christy Ferguson, both of Victoria, said guns would cause more harm than good, especially in the hands of teachers.

"More guns in school is not the answer," Morris said. "Accidents are more likely to happen than they are to stop someone bent on causing destruction."

Morris said more guards equipped to handle the scenario could help. They may not be able to go after the assailant, she said, but they could help get people off campus.

Morris' mother, too, is nervous about teachers toting guns.

"I don't think I want my grandchildren to be taught by, well, Chuck Norris," Ferguson said. "That's not what teachers are meant to do. They are meant to teach."

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