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Indiana schools chief opposes president's plan to arm teachers

Jennifer McCormick, the Republican state superintendent of public instruction, said Monday she opposes President Donald Trump's proposal to arm teachers as a way of preventing mass shootings in school buildings.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick said last week she disagrees with the suggestion by President Donald Trump and others that armed teachers are the key to improving school safety.

McCormick, a Republican, said it's "a really, really bad idea" to have trained teachers carrying loaded handguns in their classrooms.

"I think there are more risks than rewards when you're talking about arming teachers," McCormick, a veteran educator, said. "We lose our keys, for God's sake. I can't imagine trying to keep track of guns."

Her experience and wisdom should be heeded. It is also good to see this discussion of school safety being held nationwide.

The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, put the issue of school safety squarely in the forefront of the nation's consciousness. The deaths of 17 people initially put it there, but the subsequent student uprisings, refusing to accept the status quo, have kept it there.

March For Our Lives events Saturday in Washington, D.C., Valparaiso, Highland, East Chicago, Chicago and other cities around the nation continued the debate on gun safety versus Second Amendment rights.

Some argue, as Trump does, that the answer to gun violence at schools is to arm willing teachers, administrators and other staff members.

We agree with McCormick. 

Teachers carry a lot of responsibility already to protect their students as well as educate them in more than just the three Rs. Teachers are expected to train students for their responsibilities as citizens, and to help children become responsible adults who possess soft skills like punctuality and reliability that help them hold down jobs.

In an emergency, teachers are responsible for shepherding their students to safety, whether it's from a tornado or a fire or an active shooter.

Some teachers eagerly would carry a firearm in school and train to protect students from a shooter. However, that onus should be put on trained police officers, and every school should have at least one resource officer.

Last week's shooting at Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland, ended when an armed resource officer killed the shooter.

The protection of our children is one of society's most important responsibilities. Armed police officers, not armed educators, are needed in each school to accomplish this aim.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Regional News Editor Sharon Ross, Assistant Deputy Editor Andrew Steele.