At the District 97 board meeting on Tuesday night, the school board voted against the proposal to arm teachers in the district with guns.
This divisive issue has gained more steam as fear increases over school shootings. In 2018 alone, at least 45 people have been killed and 87 have been injured by gun violence on school campuses.
The State Board of Education will be asking each school district in Illinois to vote on the matter. While District 97 voted no to the measure, there is still division amongst residents of the district. Patrick O’Shaunnesy was one of many parents who spoke up at the board meeting on Tuesday. O’Shaunnesy said, “There is simply no evidence whatsoever that teachers bringing firearms into their classrooms makes students safer.” Kim Emary, a Round Lake Middle School Teacher, was featured on CBS Chicago as a teacher who supports arming teachers. She told the news station, “After the Parkland shooting, there was that fear. As an educator, this could happen at any school.”
Similar votes and discussions are happening all over the country this year. A quick search produced dozens of op-eds discussing the issue. The question of whether or not teachers should be armed gained traction when President Trump spoke and tweeted about it in February of this year. He tweeted, “Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get a yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.”
It is indeed up to the states now to decide how this will be handled within each of their districts.