MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 20 children and six faculty members and sparked the debate of how to keep schools safe for children. The safety of students is the number one priority of all educators, but what do teachers really think about how safe they are in school?
The School Improvement Network surveyed more than 10,000 teachers, administrators and school staff about how safe they feel in light of the recent school shootings. While 92% said they feel very safe, a third said they were worried about gun violence.
Tracy Rose, Principal Twin Peaks Elementary School in Murray, believes her staff feels safe at school. “I think that they feel pretty secure,” said Rose. “I think that they feel like barring a machine gun, or whatever brut force coming in, I think we’re tucked away in this little neighborhood.”
That feeling of security seems to be the overall feeling for a majority of teachers nationwide. Of the 10,000 surveyed 9 out of 10 educators say they feel safe in school and 94% believe their students feel safe as well.
Chet Linton, School Improvement Network’s President, told ABC 4 News, “Yet when we asked the question ‘do you feel your school is safe from gun violence?’ 31% said no, it’s not safe from it.”
That’s the same number of educators, 3 out of 10, who say they would bring a firearm to school if allowed. In Utah, permitted teachers are allowed to carry guns into classrooms, but Rose says at her school her teachers choose not to.
“I don’t think too many teachers feel comfortable with that because if you’re carrying something then you will have to use it,” explained Rose. “You have to feel comfortable in using that.”
The majority of educators polled want armed guards in schools, not guns in their own hands. The study showed 9 out of 10 educators say schools would be safer with armed guards.
“We love kids and we love people and we serve the public,” said Rose. “We’re non-violent and we don’t feel like we want to be that go-to person.”
ABC 4 did speak with one teacher who didn’t care to go on camera who said if she knew how to use a gun, she’d likely bring it to school. While she’s in the minority in this study, she says she would do anything to save the lives of her kids.