Hoosiers react to President Trump’s suggestion to arm teachers

Angela Tipton, a reading teacher at Eastwood Middle School in Washington Township. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Should teachers be armed with guns? It’s a question teachers and students are debating across Indiana after President Trump discussed the idea at a listening session with friends and family of the Parkland shooting victims on Wednesday.

Trump said he wants to look at the possibility of arming up to 20 percent of a school’s teachers if the teachers are adept with a firearm. In a meeting Thursday, he recommended giving bonuses to teachers who carry.

Steve Todd, the father of a Southport High School senior and grandfather of a kindergarten student, said he has “no problem with it.”

“If they know how to break it down, clean it, use it, store it safely from the students, then there’s no problem,” Todd said.

President Trump tweeted on Thursday about the possibility of “giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience–only the best.” Trump said teachers would be able to fire immediately if a “savage sicko” tried to attack a school.

Angela Tipton, a reading teacher at Eastwood Middle School in Washington Township, called it “a terrible idea.”

“I think it gives kids more of a chance to get a hold of them, either taking them from teachers in a busy hallway or if there was an altercation, it’s just not a good idea,” Tipton said.

Under Indiana law, it is a felony for a student or an adult to bring a gun into a school, with certain exceptions. The law does not apply to police, resource officers or legal gun owners authorized by the school board to carry a gun.

The president’s 20 percent suggestion would translate to up to 12 armed teachers at Eastwood Middle School and up to 22 armed teachers at Southport High School.

“That puts safety and security into that building,” Todd said.

“It’s just not in our job description,” Tipton said.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump said he could potentially devote federal money toward training teachers.