In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a week ago today, some legislators are talking of introducing legislation to allow teachers to carry guns in Tennessee schools. TEA believes:
Notwithstanding the Sandy Hook tragedy, schools are still among the safest places children can be. As caring adults, we can and must do all we can to ensure all children have safe learning environments. At the same time, we should not rush to take extreme action without careful study of what actually improves school safety.
Educators want and need continued training to help them spot potential mental health needs, bullying and high-risk behaviors. They should be trained in crisis management.
In addition, every school should have school safety procedures that are widely understood by staff and students and regularly practiced.
Students deserve to have access to specialized school personnel who are trained and available to support their behavioral, social and emotional needs. Too often, school counselors are assigned to handle student scheduling and testing coordination duties, leaving them little time for counseling the students who need them.
Every school—elementary, middle and high school—should have a specially trained School Resource Officer. Today, many middle and high schools have such SROs, but elementary schools often do not.