ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – As the nation continues its struggle to understand the shooting death of 20 young students at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut one week ago, several Missouri officials have voiced support for arming school teachers and administrators.
It began Sunday when, in a lengthy discussion with KMOX, St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch proposed the idea. Fitch’s idea was met with a wide array of condonation and condemnation. Among his supporters were two dozen Missouri state representatives who co-sponsored a bill which would put into law Fitch’s plan.
Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, of Sedalia, suggested that people might think twice about attacking schools if they knew that teachers or administrators could be carrying guns. Among the bill’s sponsors are House Speaker Tim Jones and Majority Leader John Diehl.
Thursday, the idea was proposed to Dr. Kelvin Adams, the Superintendent of St. Louis schools. “That’s one of the options that might be out there,” he said of the plan, adding that “it’s not the right option for us at this point in time.”
“Teachers who already have a great deal of responsibility are now responsible for the security and safety of every single student in the building. I think they do that historically and that’s part of their function but to carry weapons, I think, is a real challenge.”
As for what he does intend to do, Adams said he is open to arming more of the district’s security guards.
“Obviously, we would have to get people trained to carry weapons and they would have to go through the rigorous training and background checks that are necessary,” he said. “I think it would be a challenge, I don’t know if there are enough people out there who could get the kind of clearance they would need to even do those kinds of things.”
The district is currently reviewing its safety precautions and procedures in the wake of last week’s shooting, a process which will last through the Christmas break. Adams noted that a few problems have been found but nothing major.
“We want to make sure that the doors are secure and the windows are secure and the cameras are there,” Adams said. “There’s a buzzing system which we have at the school so we’re making sure all those things are operable.”