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Should teachers carry guns? NC education officials say no

Should teachers carry guns at school? The answer at the state level in North Carolina is a resounding "no."

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Amanda Lamb
, WRAL reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Should teachers carry guns at school? The answer at the state level in North Carolina is a resounding "no."

Pretty much everyone from the state superintendent to the chairman of the state school board to leaders with the North Carolina Association of Educators say it is a bad idea. They are opposed because they say teachers are not in favor of it, and too many things can go wrong.

But President Donald Trump suggests arming about 20 percent of teachers, and some North Carolina lawmakers also have said armed teachers are the best deterrent to school shootings.

"It's outrageous that we're even having the conversation," said Mark Jewell, the NCAE president.

Jewell has been teaching for three decades.

"Not one person has told me that they thought this was a good or logical idea. In fact, it's dangerous," he said.

Former state superintendent for public schools, June Atkinson, said she believes it’s an impractical idea with too much liability attached.

"There is very little, if any, evidence to support that teachers armed in a school would actually make any difference to deter people who come to school to kill children," she said.

Students are also on the front lines of the debate.

"If a teacher was trained and they were willing to do it, I think it would be OK," said Emily Garinca, a sophomore at Raleigh's Broughton High School. "If an intruder were going into the school, the teacher could respond first. We wouldn't have to wait for the police to come."

Diana Fee, a grandparent and a retired educator, says teachers already have enough competing priorities.

"I think teachers have enough on their plates that they don't need to be held accountable and responsible for that," she said.

Meredith Hibbits, a parent, echoed that sentiment.

"To be concerned about protecting all of them and protecting herself or himself with a firearm they may not be comfortable with, that's just a lot to ask. I don't think that's fair," she said.

WRAL News' Amanda Lamb heard from two fathers online who support arming teachers.

Ger Dempsey of Apex says, as long as the program is voluntary and the teachers are properly trained, it is an option. Patrick Eline of Hope Mills also supports the idea. He says it’s part of a bigger solution that also involves better overall school security and training.