MILWAUKEE -- The president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association on Wednesday, Feb. 21 said it is "completely irrational and irresponsible" to suggest teachers should be armed in the classroom to potentially thwart school shooters. Instead, MTEA President Kim Schroeder is calling for "common-sense" gun laws.
"I think about it all day, every day. You shouldn't have to bear going to school," said Kee Loo, aunt of a Milwaukee Public Schools student.
"Very nervous -- the fact that your child can't attend a school without being concerned with their safety," said Kenya Deering, mother of an MPS student.
"When you get these mass shootings of innocent children, if we don't change, there is something wrong with us as a society," said Roberta Thurstin-Timmerman.
Schroeder issued a statement after Wisconsin Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel said this week he is open to allowing teachers and others to be armed in schools, and President Donald Trump floated the idea of arming teachers and school staff, saying "if you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly."
Additionally, the Wisconsin Assembly this week passed a Republican bill creating a grant program to help schools pay for armed guards.
Under the bill, school districts could receive grants from the state Justice Department for three consecutive years to pay armed security officers in schools with grades 5-12. The grants would cover 75 percent of the cost the first year, 50 percent the second year and 25 percent the first year. The bill doesn't specify how large the grants would be or where DOJ would get the money.
The bill also would make purchasing a gun for someone prohibited from possessing one a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Repeat firearm violators would face a new mandatory four-year prison sentence through mid-2022.
The Assembly passed the measure 71-24, and now heads to the Senate.
"Safety is always a concern. The one thing we have not heard from any teacher is that they want to be armed with guns," Schroeder said. "If they truly truly care about our students and our educators, they would stop under-funding our school so we can have the resources in place so we can deal with students who may have some problems that we can work with before it gets to a school shooting."
Some parents said they think arming teachers could work under strict guidelines.
"I would think he would put it in a lock box, away from the children, so the children are safe as well as himself," said Elizabeth Caldwell, mother of an MPS student.
Others said the solution starts at home.
"As parents, we got to talk to our kids that it is easier to walk away from violence than it is to engage in it," said Corey Edwards, father of an MPS student.
Below is MTEA President Kim Schroeder's complete statement:
“During this moment of tragedy, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education sends their condolences and stands in solidarity with the students, educators and families of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School suffering due to senseless gun violence.
It is completely irrational and irresponsible for anyone to suggest that teachers should be carrying firearms in the classroom to confront potential school shooters. Enough is enough. Lawmakers are failing us. We can’t wait any longer for them to listen to the voices of students and educators. We need common-sense gun laws right now!
If Republican politicians truly have the safety of children and educators at heart, they would stop underfunding our schools, eroding educators’ rights, and passing laws that place dangerous weapons in the classroom with our students.
Between 2013 and 2015, an average of two school shootings each month took place at K-12 schools nationwide, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. If politicians truly cared about protecting our students, they would support common-sense gun laws that would actually protect students and educators.”