Tamaqua Area School Board Suspends Armed Teachers Policy Pending Lawsuits

TAMAQUA, Pa. -- A school district in Schuylkill County will not be implementing a controversial policy to arm its teachers and staff.

The Tamaqua Area School Board's plan is officially on hold.

With a vote of 7-1, the school board decided against implementing a controversial policy Tuesday evening.

Months ago, the board voted to allow teachers and staff to carry firearms as a safety measure to the mass shootings at schools across the country.

“The board has had the foresight to create a policy to allow administrations, teachers, and staff to volunteer as our students' guardians,” said board member Nicholas Boyle, who was the lone member to vote against suspending the implementation.

The district is facing two lawsuits, one filed by the teachers union and one filed by a group of parents. The board voted to suspend implementing the policy until the cases are heard by the courts.

“We're just glad that they chose to make the right decision tonight, to suspend the policy until litigation is taken care of, and we're just hopeful we can have our day in court and we can prove our case,” said Frank Wenzel, the president of the Tamaqua Area Education Association.

Parents at the meeting were extremely upset with the board's decision, saying suspending the implementation of the policy isn't enough, they want the policy revoked.

“I am very disturbed by it. This is not what we need in this community,” said parent Lisa Behr. “What we need is policy that's based on what's best for our students.”

Parents asked the district why it hasn't looked at other options.

“If the board was considering or was already in the process of implementing any of the other legal safety measures that the other schools in the area may have done, such as police officers, whether they be retired or active, paid or volunteer or trained [school resource officers],” said parent Tracy Perry.

The district said at Tuesday's meeting it has considered hiring police officers or others with professional training, but it does not know how it would be able to afford that protection.

7 comments

  • J (@ds18301)

    Arm teachers? What a joke. People who think that is a solution watch too many super hero movies. An active shooting is not like being at the range with all the time in the world to aim and squeeze a trigger. Look at the stats. In the recent Pittsburgh synagogue shooting two cops (who were trained and were knowingly WALKING INTO a live shooting) went down. In the Empire State Building shooting in NYC, NYPD marksman shot off dozens off rounds hitting nine innocent people before getting one on the shooter. It isn’t fair or sensible to put Mr or Mrs Home Ec teacher in that situation. Prevention is the only solution. And yes, that means, in part, sensible gun control in exactly the same way we have sensible automobile control. And yes, I’m fully aware you can’t stop every bad guy from shooting or driving, but just like seat belts have save countless lives, and even though they can’t save everyone — you are a fool not to use them.

    • jimbrony

      “sensible gun control in exactly the same way we have sensible automobile control” Yeah, funny thing about that – the Second Amendment guarantees THE RIGHT to have firearms (shall not be infringed). There is no such thing for automobiles. And still far more people are killed every day in automobiles (which are designed to be safe) than are with firearms. The trouble with ‘sensible’ controls is they aren’t. And criminals and evil doers don’t give a crap about your ‘controls’.

  • Jack Irvin

    I will never understand the refusal to protect our children in schools, if a shooting were to happen these same parents will blame the school. Seems we are more interested in protecting money in banks or products in stores than protecting our children in schools

  • eye4ni

    Looks like alot of wasted time. Shame on the schoolboard for not bugeting some type of School Resource Officer Program – Its 2019 alot of things have happend and its needed. Shame on the parents who filed files friviolous lawsuits against the school district. The taxes you pay will now be used to pay an attorney to protect the school district. Maybe you should cut your losses now and hire a school police / resource officer.

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