Dewhurst Proposes State-Funded Gun Training for Educators

Reading, writing and revolvers could become a reality in the classroom for Texas teachers, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is backing the idea.

On Friday, Dewhurst told a crowd at a Texas Public Policy Foundation event that he is asking the Texas Senate to consider using taxpayer money to pay for school workers to go through training to bring a concealed handgun to class. Dewhurst said school districts would choose which school employees would be eligible to bring the weapon to class, which could mean a janitor, a teacher or even a principal.

"With the increased violence we've seen in public schools in recent years, we must do everything we can to protect the safety and well-being of our most precious possession -- our children," Dewhurst said in a statement.

Dewhurst has asked Sen. Dan Patrick and Sen. Craig Estes to hold hearing and look at other safety measures.

Some teacher advocacy groups aren't thrilled with the idea.

"I think, quite frankly, it's too much," said Rena Honea, head of Alliance-AFT in Dallas. "Teachers go into education because they want to make a difference in the lives of the child. Their primary responsibility is the education of that student."

Honea said one of the reasons her organization doesn't support the idea is that there is too much room for errors and accidents.

"If a child were to be able to get a hold of that gun -- whether it be curiosity or an intentional thing; say it was an older student, an innocent child or an innocent bystander or a school employee -- their life could be lost," she said.

Honea said the state money could be used to protect schools in other ways.

"I would much rather see those dollars put into training to fund having someone professionally trained to handle that on every campus," she said.

Honea said some teachers might support the measure.

Steven Poole with the United Educators Association, which advocates for teachers in Tarrant County, said his group doesn't like the idea either. He said the push for school safety is coming from lawmakers, not teachers.

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