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Arm The Teachers? Illinois Educators Don't Like The Idea

Brynn Anderson
Kevin Siegelbaum, a special education teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, leans in to pray Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Parkland, Fla., during a community vigil.

Illinois education officials are weighing in on President Donald Trump’s proposal to arm teachers as a school safety precaution.

Most Illinois teachers oppose the idea, despite part of Trump’s proposal including a bonus for teachers who carry firearms, according to Bridget Shanahan, spokeswoman for the Illinois Education Association.

“The majority of our teachers feel like that’s sort of a slap in the face, especially when you’re talking about schools right now and you have teachers who are buying supplies and other things for their students, and then to suggest that they would be armed and get a bonus for that. They would rather just see schools fully funded," Shanahan said.

Illinois Federation of Teachers president Dan Montgomery said he has yet to talk to a teacher who thinks it’s a good idea. He said this could affect the teacher shortage as well. 

“People are not going to want to go into the profession if the job description includes being a paramilitary officer who may well have to shoot children," Montgomery said.

Todd Vandermyde, director for the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, said the proposal is also meant to be a last layer of security after law enforcement.

“I think you look back to the high school teacher, that coach, who put himself in front of the gunman in Florida and what an act of bravery that was, and could it have turned out any different if he’d have been armed and been on more of a level playing field.”

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