IN OP-ED, COUNCILMAN JOHNSON, PFT PRESIDENT SAY ARMING SCHOOL PERSONNEL MAKES CHILDREN LESS SAFE

In Council News, Kenyatta Johnson, News by PHL Council

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) and Jerry T. Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, recently co-authored a commentary in the Philadelphia Inquirer arguing against proposals in Washington and Harrisburg to arm school personnel.

Read the commentary in its entirety on philly.com. Excerpts are posted below:

“[A]rmed security officers at schools have repeatedly failed to prevent or stop school shootings. Indeed, several law enforcement officers were present during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but were unable to stop the mass shooting, which claimed 17 lives. If highly trained officers regularly fail in the fast-paced, high-stress context of a mass shooting, how can we expect teachers and school staff to succeed? How can we expect law enforcement to distinguish between a shooter and an armed teacher? How can an armed teacher distinguish between a shooter and a plainclothes law enforcement officer?”

“Guns in schools also create the additional danger of accidental gun violence. Earlier this year,  an Associated Press report found that policies allowing guns in schools have resulted in an array of dangerous situations. They included accidental firings by school personnel and children finding firearms left unsecured in school locker rooms and restrooms. The report reviewed 30 such incidents, which injured at least nine people. Those are not conditions fit for our children.”

“[M]oney spent on guns is money stolen from resources that promote school safety. In July, the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security published a joint report on school safety, focusing on threat assessment and response. The report emphasized that most school shootings could be prevented by promoting trusting, responsive school environments where there are coordinated efforts to promptly identify at-risk students and intervene. It’s self-evident that this is the type of work that Title IV-A funds should support. Our students need anti-bullying resources, mental health supports, and after-school programs. Not armed teachers and staff.”

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