Bedford County Considers Arming Teachers

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)—Sheriff's deputies in Bedford County are reacting to supervisors' suggestions that teachers carry guns in school.

William Pelfrey authored the final report for the Governor's School and campus safety task force. He says armed teachers is not the answer.     

“When teachers have guns on school grounds or on campus they put students at risk, they put themselves at risk, and to some degree they put law enforcement at risk,” he says. “They could accidentally shoot a student. They could have that firearm taken away from them and have it used against them or against students.”

If teachers and administrators want to carry guns in school, the sheriff says they need to have the same qualifications that his deputies have—including active shooter training every month, psychological testing and a bullet-proof vest in the classroom.

“If a teacher's standing there with a handgun, the deputy that's coming in or a police officer, city police officer, whoever is not going to know that this is not the shooter,” Sheriff Mike Brown said.

A bill that would allow school staff to carry guns in school was proposed in the Virginia general assembly last year, by delegate Bob Marshall, but it was never brought up for a vote. He says such a measure should be a no brainier.

“When there is an emergency there is an expression, when seconds count the police will respond in minutes,” he says.

He says Virginia is actually late to adopt such measures.

Schools in Ohio are training teachers right now, volunteers they are not forced to do this, to handle an active shooter situation.

Sarah Jane Brubaker is a mother of two and says she doesn't like the idea at all.

“I think it is a bad idea,” she says. “I don't that that is the teacher's role. I know a lot of teachers and in just talking to them they absolutely don't see that as something that is their role or responsibility they are there to help students learn.”

Another issue that opponents bring up is the liability that the school system would be under.

They say law enforcement departments carry big insurance plans in case something does go wrong. They claim schools would have to purchase the same type of insurance, and that's pricey.

Another meeting on bringing guns into Bedford County classrooms is planned for December.


Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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