Survey: Majority of Teachers Don't Want Guns in Fairfax Schools

Educators don't support arming teachers or principals, but would welcome more trained, armed School Resource Officers "if money was no issue."

A group of educators from one of Fairfax County's largest teachers' unions says it doesn't want guns in schools, according to a survey released Thursday morning by the union, which goes on to say security personnel "can help address a portion of the issue (of school security), but they cannot fix the entire problem."

The results come after nearly 500 members of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers responded to a survey on school safety and security — in an effort to make teachers' voices a larger part of state and nationwide conversations about gun control and schools, according to the federation's president, Steve Greenburg

"The issue of guns being brought to schools and the issue of making our schools more secure is a complex effort requiring ALL personnel to be involved in the process (i.e. higher vigilance, lockdown training, physical security, etc)," one teacher wrote in the survey. "Giving staff guns is NOT going to make any school safer." 

"Teachers should not be trained to carry guns. Our responsibility is to educate the children, not shoot trespassers," another added.

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale indicated last month he doesn't support arming principals and teachers.

Virginia's legislators have mixed views on the issue. Twenty-four bills on gun control were filed by Virginia House and Senate members this session; seven of them are already dead.

A bill by Prince William County's Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-13th) to arm school personnel, requiring every school board in the state to "designate at least one qualified person for every school in the district who … may carry a concealed handgun on school property," is set to be reviewed today by the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Sub-Committee.

It's not yet clear where Gov. Bob McDonnell's newly formed state school safety task force — which convened this week — will fall. Early recommendations are expected Jan. 31. (Northern Virginia lawmaker, Sen. George Barker (D-39th) serves on the task force.)

The teachers' union survey asked the group's 4,265 members — who represent schools across the elementary, middle and high school levels — about the use of guns in schools, where the system could use extra security personnel, how safe schools are now and how to make them safer, among other topics.

Nearly 60 percent of the teachers who responded said they didn't want guns in schools; 34 percent said their answers would "depend on who has them and the circumstances surrounding that." 

Suggestions varied widely, but one largely supported by educators — if money was "no issue" — is having more trained, armed police officers, like School Resource Officers, in schools across the county, an initiative 65 percent of respondents said they would support.

Only 4 percent of teachers said they would support arming principals or teachers in school.

"More guns and gunners will ultimately make us all less safe, but highly trained personnel, i.e. police, is the only way to go if we have to have firearms," one teacher wrote.

"We have close to 2,700 people (students/staff) in our building, with four security staff and one SRO," another said. "We need more!"

FCPS spokesman John Torre said School Resource Officers, from the Fairfax County Police Department, are in place at each middle school, secondary school and high school across the county.

Putting them in each of the system's 139 elementary schools, Torre said, would cost about $20 million annually.

Part of President Barack Obama's proposed gun control measures, unveiled Wednesday, would provide $150 million to school districts to hire school resource officers, school psychologists, counselors or social workers.

But while having SROs and secure facilities can help address part of the issue, 79 percent of teachers said “they cannot fix the entire problem."

Working on the issue of school safety requires a better focus on mental health, several teachers wrote.

"Schools should take the observations of teachers seriously," one teacher wrote. "Children with emotional disabilities should be identified early and given appropriate counseling. Families that need support for these children should be identified and worked with throughout school. Society does not want to spend money or time dealing with this.”

Overall, teachers said they felt middle schools and high schools needed more security than elementary schools. But 60 percent felt the system needed to reassess its safety and security procedures at all schools.

Read more about those recommendations on Patch here.

Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Bravo, DGeorge, keep up the good work here.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 07:55 PM
The founders wrote the 2nd Amendment for just this very reason--they knew the dangers of a standing army oriented toward being used against the population, and toward disarming it. Shame on anyone who fails to grasp this fundamental fact about our Contitution and natural rights. The "militia" they wrote of happens to be every single adult male in the population, NOT the national guard, or police, or any other kind of government organization.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:01 PM
It was a civilian female police officer who finally arrived at the scene on Ft. Hood and took Maj. Hasan down with her pistol, it was not any military police. The soldiers were completely disarmed to begin with. Seung-Hui Cho chained all the doors to the building shut so that he could go room-to-room and prey upon his disarmed, obedient victims(an attempt by a student to get the ban on concealed carry overturned was defeated while Cho was a matriculating student at Va. Tech) uninterrupted by any responding police. The fact that the security guard at Columbine was defeated by the shooters is not an argument against armed security at schools; if anything it is an argument for more armed security at schools.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Locally Involved, if you lived in North Korea you'd cite the official military academy there, too, as a means of trying to counter any argument that their citizens should have access to private means of armed protection against bad guys (official and unofficial) with guns. You fail to recognize the nature of government, and why an armed citizenry is necessary as a counterbalance: "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." ~ George Washington
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:14 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how dense these libs are, when they argue against having personnel with guns on staff at the scene, yet they invariably dial 911 to summon more guns to the scene when trouble happens. Their mantra is, "keep good guys with guns at a distance (until the shooting starts--then have them start their engines), but allow bad guys with guns to walk into 'gun-free zones' unchallenged by anyone who could thwart them."
DGeorge January 22, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Carol, I have been on the patch and other forums as well. It would seem to me that it is a common liberal form of discussion that uses personal attacks, vulgarity, and when permitted, obscenity. If we objectively look at violence in society and in political discourse we will find that it emanates from the left. Most assassinations are committed by left leaning people. The occupy movement compared to the Tea Party tells you what? The Tea Party compared to the lefty anarchists tells you what? I am not a republican or a right winger, in fact in much of my thinking I would be accused of being a lib. I am pro-choice, an atheist, I am concerned with the environment and the list goes on. No, Carroll, it is the left that enjoys the name calling.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:20 PM
APL, some of us have seen & heard enough solid, irrefutable evidence of rigged voting machines and widespread chicanery in key states/districts to believe the election was stolen, or at least have reasonable cause to distrust the media and official results. Do you think we should ignore the evidence, and just submit to people who are on record throughout their careers advocating and practicing underhanded means of gaining power?
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Kathy, keep up the good work and don't take any guff from these swine. I served enough years on actice duty and national guard to know that our armed forces and entire government has been taken over by the 5fth column enemy within of Marxist, anti-American political correctness.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Sandra is on record here, saying she is more worried about good guys with guns than bad guys with guns. Does any more need to be said about her judgment?
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:31 PM
West Point (my brother graduated from there before it became completely Marxist) has become an incubator of anti-American political-correctness.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:47 PM
L.I., I refuted your falsehoods in my comments further above on this thread, point-by-point. When someone is instructing you, it is best to take heed.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 08:50 PM
L.I., it's a college campus, which like Va. Tech is probably a "gun-free zone" which has banned concealed-carry. Again, your argument is to disarm good people, leaving them prey for those who take as long as they need to waste as many as they can until police get there. Insane.
Don Joy January 22, 2013 at 09:07 PM
This is possibly the most powerful, well-articulated testimony you will ever see/hear regarding the topic in question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1u0Byq5Qis
Dick Sziede January 22, 2013 at 09:11 PM
I can't resist throwing a little gas on this fire. I have arguments for both sides: Me bride, a reformed HS teacher says, "Anyone who advocates arming teachers has never attended a faculty meeting." And this pretty much sums up the other side: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/magnolia/opinion/editorial-cartoon-gun-control-for-dummies/article_2183ae16-60cf-11e2-a3f5-001a4bcf887a.html?mode=story
Barbara Glakas January 22, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Joe, You said it would cost about $50K per elementary school. Fairfax County Public Schools alone has about 139 elementary schools. You do the math.
joe brewer January 22, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Those are Bill Fox number's and that would equal about 7 million dollars at his cost or 2.8 million at my costs either way is better then doing nothing and being victims and prey for murderous scumbags.Gun control laws allow some people to vent their emotions, politicians to grandstand and self-righteous people to make a statement but all at the cost of other people's lives. Get off the soap box and get out of the way.
Carol Lewis January 23, 2013 at 02:18 AM
DGeorge, you missed the time when Don Joy's participation on Patch was suspended. Name calling exists on both side. You'll never convince me otherwise.
DGeorge January 23, 2013 at 03:36 AM
Carroll, Don Joy is one example. On this thread alone I have been attacked or called names at least four times. Really sweet. And that is just this thread, there have been others. I have come to expect that behavior from the left, it is their signature.
Don Joy January 23, 2013 at 02:04 PM
This helps explain why West Point is putting out garbage such as the report cited/linked elsewhere on this thread: http://www.examiner.com/article/renowned-author-obama-wants-military-leaders-who-will-fire-on-u-s-citizens
DGeorge January 23, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Carroll, please go over to the " Blacks from the civil war to civil rights " thread. Another sweet liberal . No matter where you go it is the same.
Kathy Keith January 23, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Interesting that the author of the study in discussion joined the Center in 2010.
Don Joy January 23, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Remember, Obama's buddy/political sponsor(and ghost-writer of his memoir) Bill Ayers' intention was to kill off the estimated 25 million or so Americans who they figured would refuse to be "re-educated" in the camps the Weathermen planned to set up in their communist revolutionary overthrow of our Constitutional republic... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWMIwziGrAQ
Don Joy January 23, 2013 at 04:01 PM
joe brewer January 24, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Put armed deputies in the schools and save 50 thousand. A report from Fairfax says it cost 125 thousand dollars for a SRO incredible that is. Save some money hire Vets that pass the background and psyche tests and get unemployed vets to do it.
Locally Involved January 24, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Here's something more cost effective with a greater benefit: End sales of all military styled assault rifles and high capacity ammo. Period. 1. Saves a ton of money (ie: taxes that will undoubtedly be raised to provide for armed security for schools). 2. Saves lives by eliminating the source of the problem of mass school shootings - the assault weapon and high capacity ammo. And, as we saw this week - eliminates the danger of friendly fire. 3. Does not infringe upon the right to bear arms. As Reagan said, and Scalia ruled, the 2nd amendment does not define what type of arms and therefore banning dangerous weapons that are designed for the theater of war does not infringe upon the right to bear arms. Legislation won't cost a thing - we already are paying for that. Lives are priceless.
Carol Lewis January 24, 2013 at 01:05 AM
DGeorge, my name is Carol, not Carroll. While you were counting the attacks on you in this tread, did you count the ones you made on others? Did you count the attacks from conservatives on liberals? The attacking is equal opportunity. If you've been attacked, perhaps it is because you have done so to others.
Sandra January 24, 2013 at 01:43 AM
I agree! Conservatives are always complaining about taxes, and I see no solution that they have suggested (i.e. installing safes in every room in schools, adding armed security guards in every school) that will not add millions of dollars to school budgets. They seem to forget that by reducing the numbers of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, we reduce the risk of armed assaults on schools. Funny how adamant they are about reducing budgets, and yet when it comes to anything that relates to increasing the numbers of guns and armed citizens, they are all for it. Still, I would like to see how many of them would approve of the millions of tax dollars that will be needed to be added to school budgets to do what they suggest.
Locally Involved January 24, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Sandra - they'll do what they seem to have a habit of doing - mandate the spending then don't fund or pay for it! (ie: raising taxes). Hmmmm, debt ceiling comes to mind. Congress decides what they spend - the President is constitutionally required to pay for it - then Congress says, no we don't want to pay for it. Leaving America in a bind. It does get tiresome.
Don Joy January 24, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Yet here we have the very topic of the article, which would involve no expense to the taxpayer at all, and you liberals drone on and on with your falsehoods ad nauseum. Typical.


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