Area school staff say no to arming teachers

President Donald Trump suggested giving bonuses to teachers who choose to carry guns in hopes of dissuading possible shooters from carrying out their plans in the first place, but area district officials and teachers don’t think that’s the answer.

La Crosse Spanish teacher John Havlicek doesn’t want to see another school shooting.

“That’s scary, because I’ve got a kid,” he said.

He’s not against firearms in general.

“Not at all,” Havlicek said. “I hunt, I go deer hunting, I bow hunt, I have a shotgun. I have a pistol.”

However, he doesn’t think teachers carrying guns will make school shooters think twice.

“That’s absolutely the worst thing we can do,” he said. “That’s very rational, logical thinking, but is anyone really arguing that the people that go in and kill 15 other people are rational, logical thinkers? Give me a break.”

Havlicek says most every colleague he’s talked to thinks arming teachers and staff members would be a bad idea.

“This is not what teachers signed up for,” said Randy Nelson, School District of La Crosse superintendent.

He said schools already have resource officers who know how to use firearms, and if there are dollars available to get teachers armed, they should go elsewhere.

“Maybe for more upstream kinds of things, discussions about more counselors, more social workers and more supports for children and families who might be struggling would be a better use of funds,” Nelson said.

“It’s: ‘How can we help families in the long haul?'” Onalaska Superintendent Fran Finco said.

Finco said when it comes to working on the district’s budget, principals aren’t requesting more guards or arming teachers, but rather additional social workers and counselors.

“Is the answer to protecting kids in the short run putting guns in teachers’ hands? I don’t think so,” he said. “It seems like we’re trying to find a single answer to a very complex problem.”

Havlicek, however, thinks the answer’s clear.

“The simplest solution is to get rid of these weapons,” he said. “I don’t hear anyone saying we need to get rid of all guns. What people like me would like to see is common sense gun laws.”