MEA President Steven Cook: NRA proposal to arm school employees is ‘dangerous and reckless’

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 4, 2013 — MEA President Steven Cook issued the following statement Thursday in response to the National Rifle Association’s new report that recommends school employees receive firearms training and carry guns in schools:

“The National Rifle Association this week issued a report that recommends arming school employees as a way to prevent gun violence — a dangerous and reckless move that would place an undue burden on teachers and education support staff.

“Support for the Second Amendment should go hand-in-hand with common-sense public policies that will help prevent gun violence and keep our schools safe. It's time for our leaders in Lansing and Washington to get their priorities straight, and start working together to put more teachers and textbooks in our classrooms, not more guns.

“School employees have enough on their plate, with constant job cuts, increasing class sizes, the slashing of pay and benefits, changing curriculum, the threat of privatization and much more. They shouldn’t have to also be responsible for arming themselves and potentially making the decision whether to shoot a student or adult.

“On Feb. 29, 2000, 6-year-old Kayla Rolland was shot dead by a classmate at Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township. Kayla and group of more than 20 other students were walking up a flight of stairs. The shooter, also 6, told Kayla, ‘I don’t like you,’ before pulling the trigger.

“Imagine if the NRA’s plan had been in place that day, and a school employee walking with the children pulled out his or her weapon and returned fire. Buell Elementary would have had an additional dead child — perhaps more.

“MEA strongly supports increasing school safety, and that’s exactly why we don’t support arming school employees.

“Armed security should be left to law enforcement professionals. After all, we don’t ask police officers to teach AP biology — we shouldn’t ask school employees to carry firearms.”

Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-337-5566