Date: Apr 13, 2013 5:48 PM
Author: Jerry P. Becker
Subject: Gen'l Interest: A 'Memo' to Staff on Arming All Teachers
From Education Week [American Education's Newspaper of Record],
Friday, April 12, 2013, Volume 32, Issue 28. See
A 'Memo' to Staff on Arming All Teachers
Imagining 'What If's'
By Thomas P. Johnson
Below, consultant Thomas P. Johnson imagines the memo a
superintendent might write if Congress were to pass legislation
mandating that all teachers be armed.
To: Director of Personnel
From: Superintendent of Schools-XYZ School District
Re: Arming All Teachers
Pursuant to new regulations first proposed by the National Rifle
Association and passed by Congress recently, all teaching staff will
be required to be armed while teaching. In anticipation of this new
requirement, the personnel department must immediately draw up plans
* Assure that all applicants for employment and new hires submit
certificates of marksmanship competencies with the several weapons we
will be purchasing this year. (See district business manager for
listing of weapons to be purchased.) Please update our
employment-application form accordingly.
* Develop an amendment to our collective bargaining contracts and add
new competencies in our performance-evaluation protocols that mandate
high levels of accuracy in weapons use by unit members. Tie these
competencies to the contracts' provisions on discipline and
discharge. Assess the impact of these changes on all bargaining
agreements with union officials immediately.
* Rewrite appropriate school board policies to include required
marksmanship levels for various job categories as a condition of
* Liaison with the district's risk-management contacts to guarantee
indemnification of our staff in case a teacher kills a child or other
staff member with an errant or accidental shot.
* Liaison with the local Department of Youth Services to establish
protocols such as grief counseling if a staff member, parent, or
child is killed accidentally by an armed teacher.
* Develop rules and regulations to mandate that ammunition for all
district weapons be available in easy-to-access locations near
* Develop regulations for issuance of weapons before school each day
and retrieval of such at the end of the day. Teachers who coach may
keep their weapons on their person while on the practice field or at
athletic events. Check with other districts to ensure that our
coaches can be armed on their campuses during away games.
* Amend district professional-development plans to accommodate annual
weapons qualification so that each teacher reaches high competency in
marksmanship. In addition, update plans to include language on gun
safety, stating standards for operational understanding of each
district weapon, so that all staff members reach high levels of
competency with their assigned weapons.
* Contract with a local gun club to use its range(s) for practice.
* Meet with the curriculum director to determine how we can release
teachers during the school day to practice their marksmanship or
complete their annual weapons-qualification requirement on school
time. Find substitute teachers to cover their classes.
* Meet with the head custodian to ensure that an in-district armory
be established with appropriate 24-hour security to store excess
weapons and ammunition.
Additionally, although it is not in the new regulations, please
investigate arming cafeteria workers, custodians, and bus drivers who
come in contact with students outside of class.
I realize that this will keep you busy, but I expect that you will
brief me on your progress within 30 days. We will discuss your
progress on the above during your annual review, which I will
schedule for the same time period.
Thomas P. Johnson is a senior consultant at HR Associates, which
provides human-resource consulting to school districts, in Harwich
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244