Meadville Tribune

Local News

January 16, 2013

GUNS IN SCHOOLS: Local officials, educators chime in on divisive issue

(Continued)

MEADVILLE — Protecting students

“We absolutely share and support the intent of what Lucas is trying to achieve, which is to protect our children and make our schools as safe and secure as possible,” Northwestern Region Pennsylvania State Education Association Representative Marcus Schlegel told the Tribune

“Protecting their students — their children — is absolutely instinctual and reflexive for every teacher who stands in front of kids every day and who has dedicated their lives to their well-being,” Schlegel continued. “As we saw in Sandy Hook, that includes making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure their safety.

“That being said, people armed in an active shooter situation have to have training that is far beyond what’s instinctual and reflexive,” Schlegel continued, agreeing with Stefanucci. “That’s where the conversation needs to begin: What happens in the most intense situation? Should teachers be more focused on getting their students extricated from harm rather than pursuing an attacker?”

“Then you begin to step back through all the other complexities — the first of which would be how would first responders in that scenario be able to immediately identify who the shooter is and who the school staff person is?” he said.

“We have to remember to divorce ourselves from the romantic ‘point, shoot, bad guy’s dead’ ideal that we see portrayed in the movies,” Schlegel said. "PSEA does not support arming teachers, administrators or support staff. The only ones armed should be highly-trained law enforcement or security professionals. These are the most serious, life-threatening situations — and when these occur, we want the most highly-trained people there to defend us, whether it’s our nation, our neighborhood or our schools.”

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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