Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Better options than arming teachers

on April 20, 2014 1:59 AM

Regarding the April 4 As I See It (“Back White’s bill on arming teachers,” Mark Zilinskas), the last paragraph of the article undermines the entire topic and provides the opposite reasoning for arming teachers.

Why don’t we have the funding for a “resource officer”? This funding shortfall is passed over as if meaningless. If our school kids are both precious and in danger, we should hire resource officers with no less than Secret Service-level training and funding, not to mention providing proper funding for mental health that just might be related to the school shooters.

To say that we don’t even have enough funding for teachers is an understatement.

Perhaps Sen. Don White should sponsor bills related to funding instead of bills to arm teachers.

So Mark Zilinskas is going to attend some type of weekend training for firearm use, and then come to school with a gun to take on school shooters. That’s noble, but where is he going to keep the gun when on school grounds? In his desk, a closet, on his person?

Will he be taking it to football practice or Friday night games? How much would it take for a couple of high school boys to overpower Zilinskas, knowing that he is armed, and take the gun off of him? It could turn into a double, triple dare ya, even if they’re not “evil beings.”

Any job analysis of a teacher shows that they are moving, talking, turning, writing on the board, walking the room, moving up and down aisles and monitoring halls. In these surroundings, how could any teacher stay mindful of a gun?

The Indiana Area School District had a situation in which a person with a gun was on school grounds. Zilinskas was teaching at the high school at that time, and White was in Harrisburg. That situation was addressed by law enforcement, not Zilinskas or White. Why the sudden concern now? Have there been more recent threats? Is there something that the community should be made aware of? If not, why the hullabaloo?

Since Columbine, much has been written regarding the causes of school violence that has to do with acceptance, bullying, peer groups, culture, gun worship and a host of other things. Maybe Zilinskas and White should do some reading on prevention programs before arming teachers. Either that or hire well-trained, well-paid professional resource officers, and let teachers do the teaching.

Tim Magill


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