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Teachers Attend Concealed Weapons Class During UEA

Dec 07, 2015 11:29AM ● Published by Aimee L Cook

By Aimee L. Cook

South Valley - Utah laws allow for teachers to carry concealed weapons. Over the recent UEA break, the Utah Shooting Sports Council offered a free concealed weapons class geared towards teachers and those working in schools. There are two schools of thought amongst teachers and administrators whether or not teachers carrying concealed weapons is a good idea.

“I look every day into the eyes of 25 precious children and only hope that I will never be faced with a disturbed individual who is willing and able to shoot at children,” Terri Samowitz, fourth grade teacher at Providence Hall said. “Our school is very proactive with doing lockdown drills and this will always be my first line of defense. I will lock my door, drop my window shield and hide my students quietly in the corners. The reason I have decided that it could be a good idea to have a weapon is for the possibility that the locked door will not stop them if they are determined to get in and harm my students. I want to know that I have a second line of defense in that situation.”

Clark Aposhian has been an instructor for over 10 years.  Aposhian believes that teachers should carry a concealed weapon if they choose to. He thinks it is a bad idea to disarm teachers. The public expects teachers to teach children, but they also expect them to keep the students safe on some level.

“We expect teachers to protect our kids, even though its never officially been said,” Aposhian said. “I look back on the Sandy Hooks incident and can imagine hearing those gun shots. If there had been a window the teacher would have climbed out of to save herself, we would have thought that would have been the most terrible thing they could do. Even though it’s not their job to protect the kids, it’s not written in any employee handbook, but we do expect them to do it.”

In Utah, it is not against the law to carry a firearm in any place of work. You can be let go for doing so in some jobs but you cannot be charged with a crime.  As a schoolteacher in Utah, the districts cannot say, “No guns allowed.” They have to go by what the state law says.

Laney Long is a guidance counselor at Granger High School. She has an opposing view of teachers carrying concealed weapons.

“I do not believe teachers should carry concealed weapons. If a student saw it and grabbed it off the teacher when the student was angry with the teacher, or another student, who knows what kind of chaos would occur,” Long said. “I also believe just an afternoon class does not make one an expert on weapons. I had a co-worker years back, who got his concealed weapons permit. This individual had never shot a gun before and purchased a gun from a guy off the Internet. I would not trust him to shoot with accuracy if there ever was a violent intruder in my school. I believe he could easily add to the victims. I currently work in a school where there are on average two policemen in the building most of the time. They carry, and I say let them do what they are trained to do.”

Katie O’Brien is a high school freshman at Juan Diego Catholic High School. She does not want her teachers carrying guns and thinks it would be a mistake because they could end up in the wrong hands.

“I would not feel any safer if my teachers had a gun because there are some kids who might overpower a teacher and use the weapon to hurt people,” Katie said. “Lockdown drills make me feel like my school is a safe environment.”  

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