Proposal to Arm Teachers Discussed at Community Meeting

About two dozen people attended a panel discussion in Arlington on Monday night about the idea of arming teachers and other school staff members.

The civic group Arlington Alliance for Responsible Government sponsored the panel discussion.

"We have to do it," said David McElwee, a gun rights activist who spoke at the forum. "These are very dangerous times we live in. We're going to have an incident in Arlington, and those people in the school house are the last line of defense."

School board members turned down a proposal to allow teachers and others to carry guns in school last year, and the board president said they are not inclined to change their minds, even after the tragedy last month in Newtown, Conn.

"I think arming teachers is silly, and we don't need to inject more guns into a situation that doesn't need guns to start with," said Peter Baron, Arlington school district board president.

One parent who came to hear the discussion said he wants more trained police officers in the schools.

"My first option is to put more police officers in the school," Christian Kelly said. "As a parent of two elementary school students here in Arlington, the [schools] aren't armed."

Just last week, Arlington school board members voted to increase school security, including adding buzzer and lock systems to help screen those who enter.

"We absolutely are always looking to improve security, but ... arming teachers is not the answer," Baron said.

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