BERRYVILLE, VA- Just days after the tragic elementary school shooting in Connecticut, a local lawmaker is asking that teachers be required to carry guns in school.
"My initial reaction is adamant opposition," says Dr. Michael Murphy, Superintendent of Clarke County Schools.
Prince William Delegate Bob Marshall (R) is proposing the bill that would require certain staff be trained and subsequently carry concealed weapons throughout the school day. He sees it as a way to keep students safe.
"The mandate is that you must pick somebody, at least one person to be at the school during the operational hours who can safely do this," says
A local substitute teacher says she doesn't think guns are for teachers. "I think it puts too much responsibility on the teachers and it could be frightening," says Carol Demery, a substitute teacher with
"It'll be an imposition among schools and localities," says Murphy. "It violates almost every principle, in my opinion, of individual choice and the ability to make decisions for oneself. I think it's a bad idea."
Murphy says it would also erase years of work to keep weapons out of schools.
"We have worked hard for many, many years in public education to eliminate guns, knives, weapons from our classrooms, from our schools," Murphy says. "We have laws in place to do that. To simply say that we're going to re-introduce guns and weapons, that we're going to require teachers and staff to be trained, sends a very message to our children. It puts us in a fear-based society and in essence the criminals have won."
On a local radio station Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell says there should at least be a discussion on the issue.
"I know there's been a knee-jerk reaction against that," says McDonnell in a radio interview, Wednesday. "But, I think there should at least be a discussion of that. If people were armed, not just a police officer but, if there were school officials that were trained chose to have a weapon, I feel like there would have been an opportunity to stop aggressors coming into the school. I think that's a reasonable discussion that ought to be had," he adds.
For teachers, it's a position they never thought they would have to consider.
"I never thought teaching was a dangerous profession, but I guess it kind of is," Demery says.
This bill is just one of many that lawmakers will try to push to prevent another tragedy.