Commentary: Educators overwhelmingly reject proposals to arm teachers and other school personnel, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Education Association. NEA members support a range of commonsense solutions to address the issue of school shootings in the United States, but arming teachers is not one of them. NEA surveyed 1000 members nationwide from March 1 – 5, 2018.
The new NEA national member survey comes on the heels of a proposal by the Trump administration to arm teachers. Trump has appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to lead a Federal Commission on School Safety to study the issue.
The following can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:
“The idea of arming teachers is ill-conceived, preposterous, and dangerous. This new national survey of educators confirms that. Arming teachers and other school personnel does nothing to prevent gun violence. In fact, quite the contrary, educators would feel less safe if school personnel were armed.
“Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards, or receiving training to become sharpshooters.
“Those who are proposing such measures are only aiming to create a distraction from the real issue. They need to listen to gun violence survivors, students, educators, and parents. They are demanding common-sense gun laws. They are demanding a plan that will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.
“The White House and Congress owe it those victims of gun violence and survivors across the country to work together to implement common sense solutions that really will save lives. We need to listen to them.”
Key findings of the NEA national member survey:
NEA members overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming teachers and other educators to address the problem of school shootings.
- An overwhelming majority, 82 percent, say they would not carry a gun in school, including sixty-three percent of NEA members who own a gun.
- Sixty-one percent of gun owners oppose arming teachers. Sixty-four percent of those in gun households oppose arming teachers.
- Two thirds, 64 percent, say they would feel less safe if teachers and other educators were allowed to carry guns.
- Educators do not believe that this proposal would be effective in preventing a school shooting. Seven in ten (69 percent) NEA members say arming school personnel would be ineffective at preventing gun violence in schools.
Three quarters (77 percent) of NEA members believe it is too easy to access guns in the United States. As a result, they support a wide range of solutions to limit access to guns.
- Ninety-nine percent of NEA members favor universal background checks;
- Ninety-one percent support taking measures to prevent the mentally ill from accessing guns;
- Ninety percent support preventing those with a history of domestic violence from gaining access to guns;
- Strong majorities also support creating a database (87 percent) to track all gun sales; banning assault weapons (85 percent); banning bump stocks (84 percent) and high capacity magazines (80 percent); and also raising the age of gun ownership to 21 (78 percent).
Click on this link to view a summary of the NEA survey topline results.