All week long in Brady Shutt’s classroom at Liberty High School, north of Iowa City, his students have been talking about school shootings.
So on Thursday, when President Trump proposed arming teachers to curb violence, Mr. Shutt posed a question to his students: What do you think of the idea of training teachers to have guns in schools?
Eyes bugged out. Heads vigorously shook no.
“They said, ‘You mean arming teachers? Teachers like you? Why would a teacher ever have a gun in school?’” Mr. Shutt recalled. “It just didn’t fit into their worldview. And there were concerns about what that would do to the relationship between teacher and student.”
Mr. Shutt said he was deeply opposed to Mr. Trump’s proposal — in particular the idea that federal funds should be used to train teachers in how to use a gun, when educators, Mr. Shutt said, had so many other needs.
Even in gun-friendly locales like rural Indiana, teachers reacted with alarm to Mr. Trump’s plan, which came a little more than a week after a gunman killed 17 at a high school in Florida.
In Shelbyville, Ind., where deer and turkey hunting are popular, Teresa Meredith, a kindergarten teacher, said she was stunned by the notion that weapons would have a sanctioned place in an American classroom.
Mr. Trump’s comments, she said, seemed to be taking for granted that mass shootings would continue.
“It felt like he was giving up and saying, ‘This is the new normal,’ instead of saying, ‘How can we prevent this from happening in the first place?’” Ms. Meredith said. “As a teacher, I’m supposed to teach and love and educate and nurture.”
Annaka Larson, 34, a first-grade teacher at Paul and Sheila Wellstone Elementary in St. Paul, Minn., said that on Wednesday, after Trump seemed to float the idea of arming teachers, the subject dominated a meeting that was supposed to be spent planning lessons.
Not a single teacher in the room supported the idea, she said.
A number of teachers, like Skye Warren, who teaches in Houston’s Third Ward, flooded Twitter on Thursday with opposition to Mr. Trump’s plan.
Ms. Warren, who is in her first year of teaching, worries that placing guns in schools would harm students.
“Our kids are already exposed to so many of these violent crimes,” Ms. Warren said. “It’s unacceptable for them not to have safe space like schools. ”
Mr. Trump’s idea is not new. A similar proposal was raised in 2012, following the massacre of first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The nation’s largest education organizations immediately rejected it.
“Firearms in principals’ and teachers’ hands might do more harm than good,” the National Association of Secondary School Principals said in a December 2012 statement. “To be effective, schools must be perceived as safe havens.”
Tom Kuroski, president of the Newtown Federation of Teachers and a teacher of 33 years, said that he could not conceive how such a measure would have prevented the Sandy Hook massacre.
“It just shows you how removed they are from what happens in the classroom on a day-to-day basis,” Mr. Kuroski said.
He added he would be in favor of hiring retired law enforcement officials or military veterans, those trained in using a weapon, to help secure schools.
Opposition also came from the leaders of large school districts.
“The mere thought that teachers should be armed in order to ward off violence is utterly illogical and will only result in making our students and teachers less safe,” said Tommy Chang, the superintendent of Boston Public Schools, in a statement. “The real issue at hand continues to be access to guns.”
Rocky Hanna, the head of a large Florida school district encompassing Tallahassee, said he had not talked to a single person in education or law enforcement who believed it was a good idea.
“Teachers are educators, not security guards,” Mr. Hanna said.
Despite opposition to the idea, dozens of schools across the country, many of them in Ohio, say they have successfully started programs in which select teachers are trained and armed.
Chad Wyen, superintendent of Mad River Local Schools, located in the Dayton metro area, said his district passed a policy to establish a response team that could access weapons following a 2016 nonfatal school shooting in the nearby town of Middletown.
Mr. Wyen said that he was determined that he would not leave his 3,900-student school system, which includes his own children, vulnerable.
“I decided that we may not be able to stop everything, but we can stop a lot,” Mr. Wyen said.
But a survey by the National Education Association in 2013 found that only 22 percent of N.E.A. members favored a proposal to train and arm school employees. Studies have also found that many law enforcement personnel oppose the idea.
Steve Dillon has spent decades teaching science and special education in Tehama County, a rural area in Northern California where a gunman entered an elementary school after killing five people last fall. Mr. Dillon, 60, has owned a shotgun for nearly 50 years and occasionally goes hunting or skeet shooting. But, he said, he would never want a teacher armed on campus.
“I specifically came to teaching because I wasn’t going to need to do anything with a gun,” he said.
“There’s a lot of teachers who are under a lot of stress. All it takes is one kid to get into something that they are not supposed to be into — if they find the weapon, what are the results?”
Erica L. Green, Julie Turkewitz, Jennifer Medina and Jess Bidgood contributed.
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