For the past two years, the right’s hostility to public school teachers has been impossible to ignore.
In Wisconsin and Michigan they’ve fought to take away their ability to collectively bargain or organize as a union. In Indiana, when a group of teachers confronted Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) about his attacks on teachers, he said, “You teachers are all making too much money. You are all making 22 percent more than the taxpayers who are paying your salaries.” (At an average salary of $47,255, they were earning about half of what the governor takes in a year.)
But suddenly after the horrendous massacre of 20 student and six adults at Sandy Brook School in Newton, CT, the GOP has a new use in mind for teachers.
Republicans in Tennessee have introduced legislation that would have one armed faculty member in each school.
“Say some madman comes in. The first person he would probably try to take out was the resource officer. But if he doesn’t know which teacher has training, then he wouldn’t know which one had [a gun],” state senator Frank Niceley (R-TN) told Talking Points Memo by phone. The teacher would be a volunteer and bring a gun from home.
Govenor Bill Haslam (R-TN) has said that he’d be supportive of such legislation.
Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) also says it’s time for “a reasonable discussion” about having armed adults inside schools.
Congressman Louis Gohmert (R-TX) immediately reacted to news of the massacre in Newton by imagining the principal of the school, who confronted the assailant and lost her life, being armed. ”I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up, so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said.
“Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands,” said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. “Federal and state laws combined to ensure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered.”
Republicans don’t trust teachers to unionize, but give a teacher a gun and suddenly she’s a Navy SEAL?
But the fact is that students are less likely to be killed at school than anywhere else, and school shootings are actually down since the 1990s due to measures taken after the Columbine massacre.
In Michigan, governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) announced Tuesday that he will not sign a bill that would allow concealed weapons on to school campuses. Snyder’s popularity has been rocked by his sudden support of anti-union legislation. Perhaps he decided that now wasn’t the best time to take a stand that would lead to more guns in schools.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow