Leon County principals say guns in schools are not the solution

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By: Erika Fernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 23, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A widely talked about proposal in regards arming teachers in the classrooms is sweeping the nation. President Trump suggested it this week, but some aren't so sure about the idea.

In a series of tweets, the President said teachers and administrators should be armed with guns to help intervene in school shootings.

The principals at both Chiles and Leon High School said Friday they don’t have a problem with more armed security on campus, but they don’t think teachers are the right ones for the job.

Last week's tragedy in Parkland has left everyone on edge, but it also has people asking, “What is the solution?”

"Nobody wants to even think about that I come to school and it may be the last day that I ever have a day to live or my chance in life," principal of Chiles High School, Joe Burgess, said.

President Trump suggested arming teachers inside the classrooms may be the best plan moving forward, but some local principals said that would only cause more problems.

"Think about us as a principal, getting a call from a parent saying that their child felt intimidated when they had a terse conversation with their teacher. It changes the dynamic of relationships between students and teachers," Burgess said.

Other principals in Leon County, like Bill Epting of Leon High, said that duty is not part of an educator's job.

"The last thing I want part of their daily routine is to come in, check my loaded weapon, is it serviceable today? That's not what they need to be thinking about when they come to work," Epting said.

Principal Epting fears for the worst on his campus.

"I can’t imagine turning a corner and I’m a law enforcement officer and all I know is that there's an active shooter, and I see an adult with a gun in his hand. And the next thing I know, I’ve got a dead teacher," Epting said.

Principal Burgess suggested other alternatives to increase safety measures on school campuses. He proposed if money was set aside for it, retired officers or active military could step in and play a role in protecting schools.

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