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Education

Survey: Local educators oppose arming teachers

Jerry Long
Jerry Long

Most local school staff and faculty oppose allowing properly trained teachers and administrators to carry weapons at school, according to an unscientific survey commissioned by a state lawmaker.

State Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, recently commissioned a survey of teachers, administrators and staff at school districts in his 76th House District, which includes most of La Salle County.

Of the 278 who responded, 62 percent said they were against arming school employees, while 17 percent favored the idea. Another 21 percent said maybe. That result reflects national trends. A recent NPR poll found 59 percent of Americans oppose arming teachers.

In his message introducing the survey, Long said legislators are talking a lot about school safety.

"There has also been a lot of legislation introduced with the goal of making our kids safer," Long said. "Having visited many of the schools in my district, I have witnessed the excellent safety precautions already in place in our schools. However, there are still ways that my fellow legislators and I can help make Illinois' schools a safer place for our children to learn."

Long said the survey results would help him make decisions on legislation about school safety.

Other results of the survey:

— Does your school have a lockdown procedure in place? Yes, 100 percent

— Do you feel there are enough guidance counselors on staff for behavioral, emotional or mental health counseling? Yes, 46 percent; no, 54 percent

— Does your school have a resource officer? Yes, 41 percent; no, 59 percent

— For those who have no school resource officer, would you be in favor of one? Yes, 82 percent; no, 18 percent

— Which measures has your school taken for security? All outside doors and classroom doors are locked at all times (56 percent); people entering the building have to be admitted by school personnel (87 percent); everyone in the building (students and staff) is required to wear a photo ID at all times (25 percent); school resource officer carries a side-arm (30 percent); we have practiced lockdown drills (97 percent)

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