Teachers call for being armed with books, not guns using #ArmMeWith hashtag

As more and more lawmakers including President Donald Trump made calls to arm school staff members, teachers offered up some other ideas on social media.

On Thursday, the hashtag "Arm Me With" trended on Twitter as educators across the country held up signs asking the government to arm them with things other than guns.

Some called for better resources for kids with mental health issues, smaller class sizes, less focus on standardized tests, even simple supplies and books that education leaders say they’ve lost to budget cuts over the years.

"We've actually been saying that for a really long time,” said Andrew Spar for the Volusia United Educators union.

Spar said he’s spoken to many of the union’s members who don’t want to see educators carrying on campus. He said, like those speaking out online, they already feel stretched thin and believe addressing some of these long standing issues would have a bigger effect on helping students and creating a safer school environment.

"Let law enforcement handle the issues in regards to law enforcement and safety and security, school nurses handle the health needs of our students, and let us be the teachers,” said Spar.

Spar reminds that any plans to arm school staff would cost significant money in the forms of higher insurance costs, training, and potential legal issues if one of those guns are actually drawn.

However, he said he has also heard from many educators who believe arming staff with guns may not be a bad idea.

In addition to the President, local sheriff’s like Polk County’s Grady Judd and Volusia County’s Mike Chitwood have come out in support of arming some school staff; since the shooting in Parkland last week.

Judd advocated for a so-called “Sentinel Program” that would arm certain staff members who volunteer and who have undergone significant, police level training as well as regular mental health checks.
The topic has also reached the Florida Legislature.