DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Should teachers be asked to carry guns on campus to protect their students?
CBS2’s Randy Paige got perspectives from both sides of the debate.
Retired LA Unified history teacher Larry Sand says the schools should let everyone know that some of their teachers are armed.
“I think it’s very important to have a few armed teachers on each campus,” said Sand. “I would put a sign out letting the world know that some teachers are carrying a loaded firearm, simple as that.”
He says schools without armed teachers shouldn’t advertise it.
“Broadcasting a school is a gun free zone is a horrible thing,” said Sand. “It’s an advertisement to somebody with a gun who wants to do mayhem.”
But veteran Los Angeles School Police Department Det. Rudy Perez, speaking as a representative of the police union, says teachers are not equipped or trained to deal with a deranged gunman on campus.
“Having multiple guns on a campus, I don’t think it’s the right answer,” said Perez. “Do I shoot through this wall? Who’s behind this wall? And there are times when I cannot neutralize a suspect because there’s a backdrop. There are other children behind, it other staff members. Innocent people. So we have to learn trigger control,” said Peres.
Perez says police spend many hours learning how to avoid shooting innocent people, and how to make sure their line of fire will not hit other officers who are also shooting at the gunman.
“Now we get a lot of teachers running at one suspect and then you get law enforcement officers showing up in uniform, we got to figure out who’s the good guy with the gun and that creates a lot of problems,” said Perez. “Teachers are created to teach. Law enforcement officers chose to run at the danger.”
Is it fair to ask teachers to use lethal force potentially on their own students in a situation like this?
“Fair to ask? Sure,” said Sand.
The question is — will armed teachers be able to protect children without claiming even more lives in the process?
“I think it will cause more problems than it will help,” said Perez. “We can’t have five people on a campus with a gun. You need police officers properly trained, properly selected to address these things.”
“There’s always going to be a way for some lunatic to get a gun and take it to a school,” said Sand. “And the last line of defense for those children is their armed teachers.”