Sapulpa Lawmaker To Propose Legislation Allowing Teachers, Principals To Carry Guns

Monday, December 17th 2012, 12:33 pm

By: Craig Day

A lawmaker from Sapulpa said he will introduce legislation that enables properly trained teachers and principals to carry firearms at school.

State Representative Mark McCullough said it's "incredibly irresponsible to leave schools undefended."

But what do school leaders in our area think of armed educators?

After the tragic school shooting in Connecticut, State Representative Mark McCullough, of Sapulpa, said he plans to introduce legislation that would allow CLEET certified teachers and principals in Oklahoma to carry firearms at schools and school events.

But Lynn Stockley, President of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, doesn't like the idea.

"I just don't think more weapons is the answer to the violence that we have, right now," Stockley said.

Instead, she said current security measures should be reinforced and more funding made available for mental health.

"If we need somebody armed in the building, then let's get a trained security guard officer, who deals with those kind of life and death situations fairly regularly," Stockley said.

A similar measure was introduced in 2008 by retired state trooper and then State Representative Glen Bud Smithson. It failed.

It would have given districts the option of allowing properly trained teachers and administrators to have guns at school.

"It's a way to give them a little bit of security to where they might be able to hold on until law enforcement was able to get there and help them," Smithson said.

School boards in Texas school districts can decide the issue.

In Harrold, Texas, which couldn't afford school resource officers and was far away from nearby law enforcement, school leaders didn't think security measures in place were enough.

"I feel better protected for them, to know that there are people in our school who are going to answer just in case someone gets in and is an active shooter," said Harrold Superintendent David Thweatt.

In Texas, teachers have to undergo firearms and crisis management training.

Oklahoma State Representative McCullough said he wants to give trusted, responsible educators the ability to defend themselves and children.

McCullough said, under his plan, state funding would be available for CLEET certification for educators.

He also said he'd like to see schools coordinate with local law enforcement and designate armed educators as reserve officers.

The legislation must be filed by 4 p.m. January 17, 2013, to be considered in this session.


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