Vol. 11, No. 13 – Mar 28 – Apr 10, 2018 – Person to Person

by Jennifer Tipton

I asked 6 Ventura teachers and administrators:
“Do you think teachers should be armed in the classroom?”

David C. Creswell
Superintendent Ventura Unified School District
“I am in favor of more security personnel for schools, but I don’t believe that arming teachers is the solution. Would we arm the sales people at the mall, or the ushers at the theater, or the greeters at church? This is not the answer.”


Dr. Jeff Davis
Assistant Superintendent Ventura Unified School District
“I think there’s better options to keep our schools safe, there’s a lot of research-based programs and policies throughout the nation that will prove more effective in the long run. Teachers do not go into the profession with the idea that they’ll be armed in the classroom, they go into the profession to educate our youth.”

Clinton Cody
Music teacher at Balboa Middle School
“It’s a slippery slope, the type of people you’re going to attract to the profession if we choose to arm our educators. I went into the profession because I had a desire to educate young people and be of service to the community. I do think it’s important to make sure our children on campus are safe but with professionals that do that type of job.”

Cheryl Wheeler
Retired teacher
“Creating a nurturing environment is paramount to student success in a classroom.  It requires tremendous focus and energy for a teacher to create that throughout the day every day.  A gun in the classroom would be counter to that end.  Also, a gun would most likely be of little use against an intruder with an assault weapon.  Another concern would be the possibility of students accidentally getting the gun and someone getting hurt or killed.  More guns in an educational setting does not equate to greater safety.”

Kim Johnson
Retired Administrative Assistant at Buena High School
“It is a bit frightening to offer my thoughts, some of which are not shared by most teachers.  That said, I think it is important to voice a differing opinion during this time when many people will not speak out as they are frequently vilified when not siding with “popular opinion”. Arming teachers and other school personnel should be an option to protect our schools. Those individuals would most likely already have a background with weapons and would have to go through an extensive vetting process to be able to volunteer for this scenario. For the last 20 years we have inadvertently invited “lost souls” to attack our schools by labeling them “gun free zones”, making them a perfect place to attack.  Why have we accepted armed protection at our airports, banks, malls and jewelry stores while allowing our most precious resource, our students and children, to become the targets that they are now?  At this point, we don’t have the luxury to wait for the lengthy bureaucratic process to protect them. We need to have the courage to seek new solutions now to take the target off the backs of our schools and students. Unfortunately, the sad truth is the next school shooter is out there and already has a weapon.”

Dawn Maloney
High School Teacher
“Arming teachers is a pretty absurd idea, generally.  Teachers should be trained in ways to defend students in a way that puts the focus on the safety of the students at large, not the elimination of an active threat. There are many ways to develop this culture.  First, being much more proactive: learning how to identify developing threats and reporting them to appropriate personnel such as counselors, administration, and/or student resource officers (policemen assigned to the school).  Next, using interactive drills/scenarios so that all involved can devote some thought as to how they could respond (don’t most of us have a “fire escape plan” at home with our families?). Too many variables involved with an “armed teacher” can go awry.”


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