College Planning Council takes a stand against arming teachers

College Planning Council takes a stand against arming teachers

Delaney Smith, Features Editor

The College Planning Council unanimously agreed Tuesday that City College should not start arming its teachers with guns, dismissing President Trump’s suggestion to arm teachers in response to the Florida high school shooting.

Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe opened the meeting by quoting a Feb. 24 tweet from President Trump. In it, Trump describes his primary solution for the mass shootings that have become increasingly common in schools and colleges across the United States.

Trump tweeted “Armed educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.”

Immediately, Beebe clearly stated that he disagreed with Trump’s suggestion, and opened the meeting for comment to gauge how the rest of the group felt about arming teachers. But, he added that no matter how they felt on the issue, state law makes it is a felony to be in possession of a firearm on any school campus in California unless you are a part of law enforcement.

Priscilla Butler, academic senate president, agreed with Beebe’s position and made a point to discuss students’ feelings of safety. She said creating a “war-like environment” by arming teachers will cause feelings of unease for students.

“If I am toting a handgun around in my classroom, I am quite certain students will not feel safe,” she said.

Jennifer Maupin, a professor of biology, also disagreed with Trump’s suggestion.

“[Arming teachers] muddles the job description,” Maupin said. “Are we educators, or are we security guards?”

Paul Jarrell, executive vice president of educational programs, agreed that arming teachers was not the right approach. He said he feels this is an issue which can be solved by addressing the mental health issues of unstable students rather than arming teachers in defense of those same students.

Following the group’s formal agreement to not arm City College’s teachers, Lieutenant Shawn Hill of the Santa Barbara Police Department presented information on how to best react to active shooter situations.

“We could take 20 million dollars and turn schools into prisons,” Hill said. “But nobody here wants that and I don’t believe it’s necessary.”

Hill has been working with City College since 2012 and gives regular active shooter presentations for both students and staff. However, in light of recent shootings he will be offering additional faculty-only training sessions this semester. “Run. Hide. Fight.” is the guideline he uses when teaching the training sessions because of its simplicity and effectiveness.

“These active shooter trainings are important for safety, but they are not going to solve the bigger issue,” he said. “There is a greater societal issue we need to address, which is recognizing where we are failing to meet the needs of our children.

“In every case, the shooter was at some point a child who had a need that wasn’t met.”

In many school shooting cases, Hill said, investigators find that there were multiple warning signs that indicated the shooters were mentally unstable well in advance of the shooting, but there was a lack of sufficient follow-up on those warning signs.

Any college member who witnesses a student exhibiting concerning behavior may file a report here.