Pushback as Md. lawmakers consider bill to arm teachers

Jack and Karis Arnold took part of their 16th birthday for activism, demonstrating in favor of legislation to better protect students. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — As Maryland lawmakers consider a bill to arm teachers, the legislation is raising eyebrows in Annapolis and getting pushback from the governor.

“We shouldn’t be scared to go to school. I think that’s a big thing, kids being scared to go to school,” said Karis Arnold on her and her twin brother Jack’s 16th birthday. They chose to spend it demonstrating outside the Maryland General Assembly on a legislative day known as “Gun Day.”

The teen said she woke up to a text from a friend asking whether she was going to school, given that a threat was received. Arnold said it should not have been the first text she received on her 16th birthday.

“Instead of feeling like you have a safe space there, and that you can have the warmth and security of being at school and being with friends and a teacher … what’s happening now is a potential shooter could happen,” said Jack Arnold.

Inside, Harford County Delegate Rick Impallaria, a Republican, proposed House Bill 760, to allow school boards the discretion to arm certain school personnel, such as teachers.

“It would allow local school boards to have the option whether they want to have certain school personnel to armed to protect our children,” Impallaria told reporters.

Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland State Education Association oppose the bill. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from more than 30 others involving firearms and public safety.

“The bottom line with active killings are the timeline. We don’t have the time to get our outside, traditional first responders to the building before too many of our children die,” said Jim Irvine, with Faster Saves Lives, at a news conference explaining the need for training educators in using firearms.


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