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Friday, April 12, 2024

Bringing a gun to school is not something teachers nationwide would want in their job descriptions, and Gainesville teachers are no exception.

Local teachers would most likely choose not to bring a gun to school, said Karen McCann, president of the Alachua County Education Association.

“Because we’re in a university town that has a tendency to be more liberal than other cities in Florida, they would sway toward not wanting to have to bring a gun to school,” she said.

A national survey of about 11,000 teachers conducted by the School Improvement Network found that about 75 percent of teachers in the United States wouldn’t want to carry a firearm to school.

The survey reflects a growing concern with school safety following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December.

McCann added that teachers are aware of the changes in their job and environment in the last 30 years.

“Society is different. Kids are different. [Teachers] were obviously heartbroken like everybody else was,” she said of the Sandy Hook shooting. “The Newtown incident was horrific, but the reality is that people and kids are being shot every day.”

David Hamblen, a behavior resource teacher at Idylwild Elementary School, said school safety is the No. 1 priority.

“My main concern as an administrator is to make sure that these kids end up at home in the same condition that their parents sent them in,” he said.

However, he said security measures should be left to proper authorities that are already armed.

“They’re trained in how to deal with situations and how to use those guns properly and de-escalate situations so that those guns do not have to be used,” he said.

Hamblen said that putting a resource officer into every local elementary school and securing campuses with fencing and gates are the best solutions to increase safety.

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As the topic of gun control and school safety continues to be debated among current teachers and government officials, it’s also shaping the way future teachers plan their careers.

Jordan Hawkins, a 21-year-old UF education junior, said that in the classroom, her students’ safety is one of her main responsibilities but disagreed with needing to arm herself.

“I see there’s a reason for it and why teachers do it, but I wouldn’t do it,” she said. “It’s sad that this is an issue that has to be brought up.”

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