BOSTON (CBS) – The superintendent of Boston Public Schools called President Donald Trump’s idea of arming teachers with guns to prevent school shootings “utterly illogical.”
President Trump first mentioned the idea during a gun violence listening session on Wednesday at the White House.
“We have to harden our schools, not soften them up. A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for the ice cream. Like here I am – take me,” Trump said on Thursday, adding “Shooters won’t walk into a school if 20 percent of people have guns.”
Boston superintendent Tommy Chang said in a statement that the bigger issue is access to guns.
“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,” Chang said. “The real issue at hand continues to be access to guns. In Boston, we have some of the strictest gun laws in the country.”
Chang added that Boston recently announced a partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise organization, which aims to keep schools safe.
Through the organization, Boston Public Schools is working to develop a mobile app allowing students to anonymously report threats to commit violence or suicide.
“When it comes to school safety, we know that our focus should be on violence prevention and creating a culture of inclusion in all of our schools,” Chang said.
“We are providing regular training that’s rooted in best practices to ensure the safety of our students if a situation were to occur, not wasting our time training educators how to carry and use a firearm. Our priority in Boston will always be the well-being of our school communities, and bringing guns into schools is simply not the answer.”
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said that many schools have police officers in the building at various times. But he does not believe teachers should carry guns.
“With respect to teachers, I don’t think more guns is the answer, in classrooms, to this problem,” Baker said. “I think we should be doing a better job with many of the things we do here in Massachusetts to ensure that people who purchase guns have to pursue a process to get licensed to do so. It’s far more refined and restricted than it is in many other places.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also rejected the idea of allowing teachers to carry guns in school.
“That’s not the way to go. Arming teachers is not the way you combat gun violence in America,” said Walsh. “In a case like that, well everyone should be carrying guns and we should have our own law and order. That’s not the appropriate way to do it.”
Like Chang, Walsh said the focus should be on keeping weapons out of the hands of young people.
“The president is all over the road. He came out with one good statement early on, and now he’s talking about giving teachers guns,” Walsh said. “I’m going to train 8,000 teachers in the Boston Public Schools to carry guns? Do I have to pay for them to have the gun? Why do I even have a police force if that’s the case.”
The executive director of school superintendents in Massachusetts says teachers chose to be educators, not first responders.
“We have enough difficulty finding teachers today,” said Thomas Scott, Executive Director of the Mass. Association of School Superintendents.
“I think it really sort of begs the question are we continuing to look for remedies to the next incident or are we looking for a remedy to solve the problem?”
Scott suggests a focus on providing more support to an increasing demographic of students with social and emotional challenges.