Teacher union leader claims ‘universal’ opposition to arming teachers, requests Trump meeting

Teacher union leader claims ‘universal’ opposition to arming teachers, requests Trump meeting
Randi Weingarten speaks onstage at the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Weingarten wrote a letter to President Donald Trump opposing a potential plan to arm teachers. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation for Teachers, sent a letter to President Donald Trump expressing opposition to plans to arm teachers and requesting that Trump meet with teacher union leaders, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The American Federation for Teachers is a national teachers union that has about 1.7 million members.

Here’s a breakdown of her major points:

Students don’t want their teachers to be armed. Weingarten said that through her conversations with students, even those whose parents are gun owners, she found that students prefer security guards be the only ones armed in schools.

Teachers don’t want to be armed. Through conversations with hundreds of educators in Florida and thousands more on a conference call town hall, Weingarten claims there is “universal” opposition to arming teachers, including among teachers who are veterans and National Rifle Association members.

There are too many unanswered questions. Weingarten cautioned Trump to think through questions about how guns in classrooms would be kept secure, how the training and certification process would work for teachers, what types of guns would be used, and liability issues in the event that the teacher had to use the gun.

Where will the money come from? Many schools struggle to be properly staffed with nurses, counselors and resource officers, Weingarten wrote, so how can you justify schools spending money to arm teachers?

There are better ways to protect students. Weingarten suggests mental health services, ending cuts to after-school programs, investing in well-trained resource officers, wider background checks and assault weapon bans.

Let’s talk. “I hope that together we can find common ground on effective, meaningful solutions to protect our children, educators and schools. But that means listening to and learning from those who know our schools best,” Weingarten wrote.