Tamaqua Teachers Sue over Guns in Schools

TAMAQUA, Pa. -- Plans to arm teachers in one area school district hit a roadblock Wednesday afternoon.

The union representing teachers in the Tamaqua Area School District is going to court to stop the idea.

In a news release, the Tamaqua Education Association wrote that arming teachers is a bad idea, but that's not why it went to court. Lawyers for the union say the school's plan is illegal.

The Tamaqua Area School Board's plan to train some teachers in firearms and have them carry guns in school divided the community all fall.

At public meetings, some feared arming teachers, janitors, and support staffers would likely lead to problems like accidental shootings.

"We recognize that there is a need for protection, but we do not think that arming the staff is the answer to this problem," said Tamaqua student Paige Pratt.

But parents, who say it's impossible to know where the next school shooting will take place, feel Tamaqua Area schools need to do something to protect their kids.

"If the teachers are trained, they should be allowed to carry guns," said Jil McMahon.

"I was in school since Columbine happened. It has been a very big concern," Gabrielle Dannenfelser added.

Last week, the school board voted unanimously to allow some teachers and staffer to carry handguns in holsters after completing a rigorous firearms training program that would take at least two years.

But the teacher's union wants to stop the training from ever taking place.

In a lawsuit filed in Schuylkill County court, the union claims Pennsylvania law allows only trained police officers to carry guns in schools.

Union president Frank Wenzel released this statement.

"The district's policy ignores state law and allows school employees who do not have state required training or experience to carry and use firearms. We must follow the law to ensure students and staff remain safe."

Tamaqua Area school officials have not responded to the lawsuit, which also claims that the Pennsylvania state legislature would have to change state laws before volunteer teachers and staffers could be trained to carry guns in school.

6 comments

  • dan5099

    Most police officers retire young and begin second careers. I am one of them. I work as a school police officer with other retired officers. We are highly trained and experienced, maintain our certifications just as municipal and state police do and receive additional extensive training particular to school based policing. PLUS, we come at a bargain. Decent hourly wage but no benefits needed since we already have them from our agencies. I’m not necessarily opposed to TRAINED school staff being armed but I can’t imagine working in a school environment, armed, and having the responsibility of neutralizing an armed intruder who plans on committing mass murder without YEARS of training and FULL TIME experience in the field.

  • J (@ds18301)

    “Then the Union should be held responsible for shootings there” is a comment that caught my attention. First, it sadly considers school shootings as inevitable and as unpreventable as snow days. They are to a very large degree preventable. This is a wholly American problem where kids have as easy access to guns as they do a pizza. But we have the typical NRA lack of logic: that the more guns there are, the safer everyone is. Statistics around world fully demonstrates the absolute fallacy of this. Finally it ignores how many fully trained police gunman have been injured and/or killed or have actually panicked in these shootings. Imagine a barely trained teacher with no combat experience at all suddenly thrown into a noisy chaotic war zone! It is one thing to target shoot at a range and another to make the right decisions in the fog of war. Imagine the police arriving when there dozens of armed potential perpetrators on scene. In 2012 in a shooting at the Empire State Building, highly trained police marksman shot nine innocent people and didn’t get a single shot on the actual gunmen. I won’t even go into the possibility of the teachers themselves, with free and open access to arms at schools, who lose their sanity with hundreds of sitting ducks there. Stop school shootings at the source with better gun control, gun laws that require people to properly care for the storage of the arms and train teachers to better identify students who show signs of withdrawal etc.

  • Bobby Jackson

    “Gun free zones” are the most dangerous places on earth , why don’t these loony toons recognize this?

  • Marc Gratkowski

    Unions are now far left stage 4 cancer. At one point they were needed, but like everything infected by the left, they’ve gone bad.

  • Inner Krsna

    I don’t even care anymore. I really don’t. It’s all just a bunch of blah blah blah.

    Everyone wants a solution, no one agrees on a solution, nothing changes.

Comments are closed.

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