Tamaqua: Proposal To Arm School Staffers

TAMAQUA — Tuesday night, the Tamaqua Area School Board voted to come up with a mock proposal about arming staff members in school buildings.

It is a proposal school officials said could make the district safer.

Some think it would make the school a safer place in the wake of school shooting tragedies, like the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut one month ago.

“I think if they did it they would have to go through some psychiatrists to make sure there are no mental problems, or you’re not an angry person or something like that,” said Charles Heffelfinger of Tamaqua.

Not everyone is convinced arming teachers and other school staff members is a good idea.

“I honestly don’t like it because what’s the point of a teacher having a gun? I mean around here, we’re basically in the middle of nowhere, everybody knows everybody, what’s the point of a teacher having a gun?” said Tim Stahl, a junior at Tamaqua Area High School.

Others agreed with the notion that having armed staffers in schools may make things safer.

“I think that the school should do whatever is necessary to keep us safe but tell us, as long as we’re informed of the policies, we’re informed of everything that’s going on, that’s alright,” said sophomore Gregg Gehman.

School leaders at Tamaqua Area said they will now study legislation and speak with students and parents before making any decision about a possible proposal to vote on.

“I think it should be a school-wide meeting people should be informed, parents should be informed,” said Gehman.

School leaders said if things move quickly and they come up with a proposal everyone agrees on, staffers could be armed by next school year, though they said, that is not very likely.