In the wake of the school tragedy in Newtown, Conn., one man is stepping up to teach administrators how to protect their students.
Guy Relford is an attorney, a certified fire arms instructor with the National Rifle Association and is the owner of Tactical Firearms Inc. and he says he has one solution that can help save lives at Indiana schools.
“The one thing that I realized that I can do and that I’m empowered to do is to help train folks that in that five to seven minutes that it takes for law enforcement to show up and start protecting kids at that school, and the people at that school have the ability to protect themselves in that time frame,” said Relford.
There is a law already on the books in Indiana that allows a person employed or authorized by a school district to act as a security guard to possess a firearm on school property.
Relford said that includes administrators and teachers. They could be allowed to possess firearms on school property, if their school board members approve them to do so.
“If a school system decides that it wants to go down this road, I’m offering free training for anyone that can show me a valid license to carry a handgun from Indiana and written authorization from their school board that allows them to possess a gun on school property.”
Relford believes this is an option school districts should take a hard look at.
Nate Schnellenberger is the President of the Indiana State Teachers Association which represents more than 40,000 educators and teachers statewide.
“I’ve heard teachers who’ve said, ‘Give me a gun and let me defend myself and my students,’ and I’ve also heard teachers say, ‘No way should that be a responsibility of a teacher and that there are other ways to deal with that security issue.’
“What I hope doesn’t happen is a political knee jerk reaction to this. I hope that all of the issues are discussed and talked about. And that when we start thinking of potential solutions, we look at the unintended effects or consequences those solutions may have down the road,” said Schnellenberger.
Schnellenberger says the ISTA has no official position on the issue, only saying that it should be up to the local school board and not mandated by the state.
“Things are changing and I think we have to be willing to listen and change as the times dictate,” said Schnellenberger.
Folks Fox spoke with said there are no easy solutions to the complicated issue on how to best protect our children at school.
“That’s such a tough call and I don’t know what the right answer is, sure I would love to have the right person with the right training have access to protect those kids, but there’s so many things that could go wrong when its available,” said Brittany Vollmar of Indianapolis.
Parent, Antonio Lowery believes security should be left in the hands of those who have only one job at school.
“We need more professional officers in the schools. Better safety through officers not through the teachers or the principals, that’s not a good idea.”
Several states are looking into legislation that would allow teachers and staff to carry firearms. Several school districts around the nation already allow teachers and staff to posses firearms on school property.