The largest teachers union in Tennessee is quietly on board with allowing educators to carry a weapon to class—at least as a last resort.
The Tennessee Education Association is supporting a bill under consideration by the state legislature, but the union would prefer teachers not need to bring a gun to school, President Gera Summerford said.
“I think the way we would look at it is, it’s the responsibility of law enforcement-trained personnel,” Summerford.
But the TEA also wants a school resource officer in every school. So the organization has signed onto a bill from state Sen. Frank Niceley that would mandate it. If there’s no money for a uniformed officer, the legislation allows an administrator or faculty member to be trained.
As long as no teacher is forced to carry a weapon, the teachers union says they’re in support.
But there’s been bi-partisan resistance to arming teachers at all. House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh says he worries about a gun getting into the wrong hands.
“The kind of student I’d be tries to go and have a look at the weapon or something worse than that. I can just see all kinds of problems with teachers going armed,” Fitzhugh said.
Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, has also expressed misgivings, saying he doesn’t know many teachers who would want to carry a gun.