WASHINGTON – The question of whether schools should have guns and/or armed officers is a subject of nationwide debate since 26 elementary students and staff were killed in a December shooting in Newton, Conn.
Now, the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (FCFT), which represents the district’s 4,200 teachers, is asking its members the same question in a survey titled Security and Schools.
The survey results report that only 4 percent of the members who participated in the survey support the idea of arming teachers or principals. More than half of survey participants, 59 percent, say there should not be guns in schools, period.
However, 65 percent say they would support an armed police officer in schools if the money was available. Forty-three percent say they favor armed police officers in elementary schools under this circumstance.
FCFT President Steve Greenberg says he is not surprised with the survey results.
“Police officers serve from a community policing standpoint as a role model and as an outreach to the public in the schools,” he says. “They also can help with traffic issues before and after school. They’re a first responder always on site.”
Fairfax County currently has armed police officers in a number of high schools and in some of its middle schools.
Only 483 teachers responded to the survey, but Greenberg says, based on the past, that’s a good response rate.