Teachers, guns and safe schools in Wisconsin

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RICE LAKE, Wis. – In preparation for a new school year, school officials are considering allowing teachers to be armed to increase school safety.

gunsEducators and sheriffs across Wisconsin are finding this issue to be more complex than expected. Adequate training in the use of firearms is a minor issue compared to the legal and psychological consequences teachers may face should they take a life.

Some school districts are erecting signs that read, “Staff is armed and trained.” Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald of Barron County, Wisconsin, agrees that the sign carries the “same psychological deterrent that home security signs carry, but educators need to be worried about more than discouraging a shooting.”

Sheriff Fitzgerald explains that teachers and those who provide weapons training to a teacher may be named in a lawsuit should a shooting occur. “Law Enforcement departments are sometimes named in lawsuits in spite of their education and training.  Educators could also face scrutiny if they assume responsibility for protecting their schools.”

“While police are prepared to take a life, doing so is traumatic,” explained Sheriff Fitzgerald who recommends that teachers consider whether or not they can psychologically handle firing a gun to take a life.

If educators believe that they are able to assume these responsibilities, Fitzgerald suggests that they may want to encourage legislators to enhance Good Samaritan Laws to provide a “good faith” exemption so teachers and school districts will not be held liable should there be a fatality or should a mistake occur under the stress of the situation.

Police and educators have learned a lot from major school shooting incidents since Columbine. According to Fitzgerald, police would call the SWAT team, set a perimeter, and wait for SWAT while aiding those wounded students who were visible and accessible. Now, he explains, law enforcement is cross trained with SWAT tactics; a single officer may enter a building, step over the wounded, and find the source of the shooting.

The Unified School District of Antigo, Wisconsin, which includes 2,547 students, provides one armed, full-time Liaison Officer also known as a School Resource Officer. The SRO patrols all schools within the district on a random pattern. Clark Palmer, Antigo school board member and chair of the Committee on Instruction, explained that the Board agreed to spend an estimated $75,000 to improve building security by installing secure doors with panic bars, security cameras, hallway isolation doors, and locking vestibules. Mr. Palmer stated, “Teachers and our SRO are committed to the safety of our students. However, there is an advantage to having many armed and trained staff available to protect students.”

Palmer acknowledged that many teachers have extensive military backgrounds and/or are well trained and suited to work with the SRO to become an effective force to limit any loss of life. Since the Newtown shootings, schools are also improving lock-down procedures. Classroom doors are easier to lock quickly, and cameras, security doors, and bullet-proof glass are popular options. Districts across the United States are investing thousands of dollars to make school buildings more secure although, the cost of the SRO can be prohibitive for many districts.

By Karen Schroeder at Advocates for Academic Freedom

Originally posted at EAGNews.org

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14 Comments
  1. yaki534 says

    In Washington state they have an Officers training program that is only a few months long. It could be arranged for teachers could go to that during summer break. That way they would be properly trained.

  2. yaki534 says

    In any of the school shootings and some other shootings one properly armed person could have stopped the criminal before anyone was shot and definitely before the second one. Teachers are there all the time. Police are a few minutes away. Police get there in time to fill out the reports of the crime usually. Armed resistance is the proper thing to do.

  3. mitzy2 says

    this is not a good idea for one these teachers can be overpowered and carrying a gun around on them is not good. And yes lawsuits and whos to say the teacher is stable enough to carry a gun. the unions who suck up union dues should pay for security ike our vets or police. this arming teachers is asking for trouble

    1. yaki534 says

      So you are happy with police reports of how many were slain? A person could not take away the firearms of all the teachers.

  4. $14832922 says

    ” Sheriff Fitzgerald explains that teachers and those who provide weapons
    training to a teacher may be named in a lawsuit should a shooting occur.
    “Law Enforcement departments are sometimes named in lawsuits in spite
    of their education and training. Educators could also face scrutiny if
    they assume responsibility for protecting their schools.”
    If educators believe that they are able to assume these
    responsibilities, Fitzgerald suggests that they may want to encourage
    legislators to enhance Good Samaritan Laws to provide a “good faith”
    exemption so teachers and school districts will not be held liable
    should there be a fatality or should a mistake occur under the stress of
    the situation. ”

    This is one of the purposes of “Stand Your Ground”.
    You have a God-given RIGHT to protect yourself WHERE EVER AND WHEN EVER you are threatened.
    An armed school shooter situation is most certainly one of those “where” and “when” instances.
    Any “court” that would even consider such a suit …… well, if you can’t figure that out, you’re part of the problem.

    1. loran says

      Quite right about that. Except that is exactly what the left does not want, a God given right. They want to be the ones to give people what they consider is a RIGHT.

      1. $14832922 says

        If there is no God and no “God-given Rights” then your “rights” (not “yours” in particular) have no more authority than my “rights”, thus, I can over-ride your “rights” anytime I want, if I am stronger than you are or are more willing to use force to get my way.
        If some one “gives” you something, such as “rights” (actually a ‘privilege’) then they can just just as easily take them away.

        That seems to be completely beyond the comprehension of those on the “liberal left” or of decrease mental capacity … but, I repeat myself.

        1. loran says

          I agree with almost all of what you stated. However, doesn’t matter what or who gives a right. A right is a right, cannot be taken from you except by force.
          A privilege can be revoked for any number of reasons, say like a drivers license or a club membership.

          1. $14832922 says

            Whomever “gives” you your “rights” MUST have a higher authority than whomever “gives” me my “rights”, or, my “rights” supersede “your rights” … the Higher Authority must have superiority or, at least, superior force.
            Hopefully you understand that concept.

          2. loran says

            Are you some kind of nutcase? A provocateur maybe? Just keep it simple.

          3. $14832922 says

            Well, it’s apparent that you don’t understand.
            That is as simple as it gets.

            Best of luck to you.

          4. loran says

            Your right, I don’t understand, However, I am involved with teaching our Constitution to people who want to learn and not just bloviate. I keep it simple.

    2. IHateLibs says

      Try telling a LIB/DEM Anti-Gun MORON that

      1. loran says

        Why even bother. They will just dismiss it as irrelevant.

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