------ Lee County Superintendent Joseph Burke has been asked about his views on the issue of arming teachers on school campus. This is his response, which was provided by the school district's public relations office last week.
While the role of the teacher may take on various forms during the course of a day, instructor, mentor, coach, etc. a teacher should not take the role of armed protector.
This premise stands to create an environment among teachers and students where the focus shifts from teaching and learning to concern and conversation about who has a gun and who does not, and why.
Along with the Florida School Board Association, I advocate for any legislation and funding that places School Resource Officers on every campus, every day. The presence of a law enforcement officer(s) not only provides students the opportunity to build relationships with law enforcement personnel, but also provides a symbol and real sense of safety and order within and outside of the school.
The move to arm teachers is a distraction from the real issue of severe funding cuts that have occurred at the federal and state level for school security and safety initiatives. No one is better equipped to protect our students than trained law enforcement personnel. Government officials serious about student safety must be equally serious about funding initiatives to secure it.