AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
In the state of Florida, there are 176,537 teachers in public schools. I don’t have a number for private schools in the state, but it’s safe to assume we’re looking at something close to 200,000 teachers.
That’s a decent sized portion of the total number of teachers throughout the nation, not counting school staff, the very same teachers blasted by Giffords recently as being completely irresponsible with their guns. The very same Giffords who made a whopping 12 incidents a year sound like a national epidemic.
After the Parkland shooting last year, a modest package of gun-control laws passed through the Florida Legislature with one notable deletion: language about arming schoolteachers. As part of a compromise, lawmakers agreed to remove the controversial measure — but this year, the idea is back.
Tomorrow a state Senate bill that would allow trained teachers to carry guns at school (SB 7030) will go up for a vote before the Senate Appropriations Committee. A vote on the companion House bill has been temporarily postponedwhile members of both chambers negotiate the differences between the two measures.
Although the proposal to arm teachers is popular among some conservatives, most Floridians oppose such a plan, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. There’s also plenty of evidence that teachers with guns can be downright dangerous. Last week, Giffords, the gun-violence prevention organization led by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, put together an analysis of more than 60 incidents of mishandled guns at schools across the nation, including nine in Florida. Last year, the Tampa Bay Times did something similar, pulling state disciplinary reports that showed teachers and other school staff had made threats of violence, sometimes against students.
Of course, the “litany” of infractions includes a drama teacher allowing a paintball and pellet gun on campus contrary to policy, a teacher who didn’t have a gun saying what she’d do if she did, an art teacher supposedly threatening a student with a finger gun if he spilled paint, a teacher making an ill-advised comment while trying to get a student into a special class and so on.
Others included teachers who mentioned the word “gun” in a rhyme, a teacher with dark but not entirely unusual fantasies based on what we hear from anti-gunners on a regular basis and a teacher who brought a stun gun to school.
While most of these are indeed inappropriate, they’re also not cases of irresponsible teachers who can’t be trusted.
If they are, those teachers should clearly have been fired.
All of this is bizarre to me. Teachers are a left-leaning demographic. Yet at the same time, the anti-gun left is trying to vilify teachers as irresponsible and dangerous.
Meanwhile, I don’t see teachers groups lashing out at this characterization. It’s odd because any implication that maybe they don’t deserve a pay raise sparks howls of protest and comments that make them the living embodiment of all that is good and holy. Teachers are portrayed as good and virtuous people motivated by altruism and other noble things.
But where’s that right now? I’m sure as hell not hearing it.
Let’s remember that when the discussion shifts to education spending.
However, through it all, there’s something else to remember. Out of more than 200,000 teachers and staff, they can still only find a handful of incidents. Giffords found nine incidents in five years. These others are generally words that while inappropriate from a teacher, don’t necessarily represent a threat to student safety.
You’d almost think they couldn’t find much in the way of real issues.