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 teacher
* 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
* 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