A bill at the Indiana State House would fund training for teachers to carry a gun if the school district chooses.
The bill has passed committee with an 8-2 vote and is now moving on to the full senate.
There is no doubt that arming teachers is a polarizing debate, but many officials in Vigo County are on the same page with how they would approach the situation if the bill does pass the full senate.
For Vigo County Superintendent Dr. Rob Haworth he does not foresee VCSC arming teachers anytime soon, “When I think of arming staff members, we do arm staff members. Our student protection officers are armed so it really removes that question for Vigo County.”
Every Vigo County school has at least one school resource officer in the building during school hours that is trained specifically to protect students and staff, an approach that terre haute police agree is the best route of protection.
Dr. Haworth says, “[School Resource Officers] are probably the best qualified to make a decision on how to discharge a firearm.”
THPD Sgt. Denzil Lewis says the mental and physical training that goes into preparing a person to be able to fire a gun at someone is far beyond what schools should be asking teachers to do. “People don’t realize the mental preparation for an armed confrontation that goes into a potential gun fight.”
One of the biggest issues Lewis sees is the confusion that would be added to an already chaotic situation in the case of a school shooting, “an officer is trained to go immediately into the building so when they go into those situations and they go into that building they are looking for anyone who is armed. The first person they see is a teacher, that is going to be a problem.”
The risk of bringing guns into classrooms seems to outweigh reward from THPD’s perspective.
“Some kid who doesn’t have access to a gun may figure out a way to get that gun off that teacher,” says Lewis.
WTWO spoke with one VCSC School Board member who said they have not discussed the issue as a whole yet but the issue has been brought up at public forums and she expects that it will be discussed soon.
The bill in the state senate would give funds to schools to allow teachers to be trained in using firearms, if the school district choses.
During the full senate hearing the bill could still be amended and could potentially fail.