TAMAQUA, Pa. -- Kids in the Tamaqua School District practiced for knee-high football on Tuesday. While parents in the crowd watched, they also worried about a new school policy allowing teachers to carry a gun.
“Something needs to be done, I guess. I don't know whether it's cops or teachers have a gun. Something needs to be done,” parent Josh Setlock said.
The Tamaqua School Board approved the new policy in September. It allows teachers, custodians, and any school staff to carry a gun while on school property.
“I think it's a good idea in a way because it helps protect the kids but at the same time how do you know that the teachers are really able to carry a gun,” Aileen Lorah said.
That question was brought up at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Teachers and staff are not armed just yet. School board officials said they will be very secretive and selective about who they choose.
However, teachers said they’re very worried.
“Bringing a gun into my classroom is not going to improve a relationship. It's not going to build that bond that you have with a student and if you don't have that bond, you have nothing,” One teacher said.
Teachers suggested hiring more school counselors to help students with mental health problems. School board officials argued that sometimes the shooter isn’t a student.
“We want to do something that is not cosmetic to make us feel good but to make it safer,” school board president Larry Wittig said.
Under the new policy, three to four school staff members in every building would be armed anonymously. Those employees would go through training four times a year.
Some parents and even young students we spoke to said they support it.
“They're not actually just protecting us. They're protecting the school too, so it gives us the education to be what we want to be when we grow up,” third-grader Polly Hosler said.
School board officials said they’re going to move forward with their plan to arm school staff, but they’re taking into consideration all of Tuesday night’s input from teachers and parents.