A recent poll of Oklahoma teachers, administrators and support staff conducted by Professional Oklahoma Educators (POE) shows support for the carrying of handguns by faculty on school campuses. 56 percent of respondents believe teachers should be able to be armed as long as they have their concealed carry permits and 68 percent believe administrators should be allowed to be armed under the same rule. Only 29.3 percent of respondents did not want teachers armed under any circumstances, with an even smaller number of respondents, 14 percent, indicating that administrators should never be armed.

“We must take whatever precautions are necessary to protect the innocent children in our state,” said Ginger Tinney, POE executive director.

Some survey respondents commented that they believe schools are actually targeted because criminals know they are defenseless against attacks since firearms are off-limits.

In addition to support for armed teachers and administrators, survey respondents indicated by an overwhelming 74.8 percent majority that they want armed officers on duty on their campuses during school hours.

“The most often heard argument against hiring armed officers for every school site is the cost,” said Tinney. “But, we must ask ourselves what the true cost may be if we fail to take steps to protect our schools.”

Ultimately, survey respondents cited societal problems as the cause of so many recent acts of school violence. A lack of discipline, failing to teach character education, bullying, lack of parental involvement, mental illness and more were all mentioned as contributing factors.

“Several pieces of legislation have been filed this session to address school safety,” said Tinney. “Professional Oklahoma Educators looks forward to working with legislators to help better protect our students and teachers.”