NYSUT leader says arming teachers would be “ludicrous”

Feb 26, 2018

The leader of the state's teachers union says arming teachers with guns will not make schools safer.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the New York State United Teachers stands behind it's 'long-held' position.

Clarence High School students rallied last week for gun reforms.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

"The arming teachers is impractical and misguided, and we believe ludicrous,” stated Andrew Pallotta, president of NYSUT.

The union represents more than 600,000 educators across the state. The union says it received “impassioned calls”, “emails” and “social media posts” from educators since the president remarked teachers should be armed in the wake of the deadly school shootings in Parkland, Florida. 

But what does Pallotta think would be a solution to protect students and staff?

“We would have to look at each school. What each school has in the way of security. We believe increasing security in the schools should be on the table, something that is very important. We also believe in the value of guidance counselors, social workers, physiologists, mental health services that would be available to all students,” Pallotta remarked.

WBFO News spoke with a veteran Buffalo Public school teacher, who does not want to be identified for this story, but told us if an active shooter entered his school, he has “no doubt” he would work “to protect” his students, however he would not want to be armed in school.  This city teacher said the first step is to have metal detectors in all school buildings. 

NYSUT's Pallotta responded to that suggestion.

“Metal detectors – if that’s the community feels would make them feel safer in the school and more security personnel, then we support that – we would support anything that makes sense to us, but we also believe that a lot of folks now are looking at gun control – common sense gun control – as a way of really dealing with this – the weapon that used – unnecessary,” Pallotta replied.

The city teacher also suggested there be no glass windows on doors and districts should be able to hire retired police officers or former military members to help protect students.