My View: Teachers with guns is a crazy idea
LZ Granderson says arming educators to fend off gunmen is going in the wrong direction.
December 19th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

My View: Teachers with guns is a crazy idea

LZ GrandersonBy LZ Granderson, CNN contributor

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) - I wish I were surprised that Texas Gov. Rick Perry doesn't see a problem with concealed weapons in schools, but after watching his failed bid for the presidency, the truth is there's very little that man can say that will truly surprise me.

"If you have been duly back-grounded and trained and you are a concealed handgun license-carrying individual, you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state," Perry said at a tea party event held on Monday.

It seems his line of reasoning is in line with some of his gun-loving brethren who believe if teachers and principals are armed, tragedies like the one in Newtown would go away.

It's as if he thinks "Rambo" is a documentary.

In a country with fewer than 350 million people but more than 310 million guns, we don't need more of them. We need fewer. And when it comes to our schools, we don't need guns at all.

So it's very fortunate that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder had the good sense to veto Michigan Senate Bill 59 on Tuesday. The proposed law would have allowed people with permits to carry concealed weapons and with extra training, to bring their guns to traditional "gun-free" zones such as day care centers and schools. And by "extra training," the bill called for an additional eight hours and another 94 rounds on the firing range.

That's it.

It was approved the day before the shootings in Newtown.

William J. Bennett: The case for gun rights is stronger than you think

On Monday - while Perry was encouraging guns in schools - a letter signed by all 21 superintendents in my county was sent to Gov. Snyder asking him to veto the bill because, unlike the gun-happy politicians who rammed the legislation through in a lame duck session, educators do not believe guns in schools are a good thing.

I have yet to hear a teacher who has survived a massacre advocate for guns in schools.

Read Granderson's full column

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Filed under: Guns in school • School safety • Voices
My View: There's a strong case for guns rights in schools
William Bennett argues that schools would be safer with at least one armed person there who is well-trained in firearms use.
December 19th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

My View: There's a strong case for guns rights in schools

Courtesy William BennettBy William J. Bennett, CNN contributor

Editor's note: William J. Bennett, a CNN contributor, is the author of "The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood." He was U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush.

(CNN) - On NBC's "Meet the Press" this past Sunday, I was asked how we can make our schools safer and prevent another massacre like Sandy Hook from happening again. I suggested that if one person in the school had been armed and trained to handle a firearm, it might have prevented or minimized the massacre.

"And I'm not so sure - and I'm sure I'll get mail for this - I'm not so sure I wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing," I said. "The principal lunged at this guy. The school psychologist lunged at the guy. Has to be someone who's trained. Has to be someone who's responsible."

Well, I sure did get mail. Many people agreed with me and sent me examples of their son or daughter's school that had armed security guards, police officers or school employees on the premises. Many others vehemently disagreed with me, and one dissenter even wrote that the blood of the Connecticut victims was ultimately on the hands of pro-gun rights advocates.

To that person I would ask: Suppose the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary who was killed lunging at the gunman was instead holding a firearm and was well trained to use it. Would the result have been different? Or suppose you had been in that school when the killer entered, would you have preferred to be armed?

Evidence and common sense suggest yes.

LZ Granderson: Teachers with guns is a crazy idea

In 2007, a gunman entered New Life Church in Colorado Springs and shot and killed two girls. Jeanne Assam, a former police officer stationed as a volunteer security guard at the church, drew her firearm, shot and wounded the gunman before he could kill anyone else. The gunman then killed himself.

In 1997, high school student Luke Woodham stabbed his mother to death and then drove to Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi, and shot and killed two people. He then got back in his car to drive to Pearl Junior High to continue his killings, but Joel Myrick, the assistant principal, ran to his truck and grabbed his pistol, aimed it at Woodham and made him surrender.

These are but a few of many examples that the best deterrent of crime when it is occurring is effective self-defense. And the best self-defense against a gunman has proved to be a firearm.

Read Bennett's full column

December 19th, 2012
09:31 AM ET

Connecticut teachers were heroes in the face of death

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) - Facing down a gunman, placing yourself in the path of flying bullets, forfeiting your life to protect innocents. It's a job description fitting for a soldier or police officer, but for a school teacher - an elementary school teacher at that?

What the teachers and principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School did for the children in their care could win a soldier in a war zone a Purple Heart.

But the soldier makes a conscious choice to face mortal danger when he or she enlists. Sandy Hook's heroes did not.

Adam Lanza did not give them that choice when he opened fire in the hallway and two classrooms Friday in Newtown, Connecticut.

Long before it happened, Principal Dawn Hochsprung tried to prevent a shooting - or any other calamity - by implementing new security measures at Sandy Hook. She made sure teachers practiced getting into lockdown mode.

The front door was locked when the gunman arrived. A mother meeting with Hochsprung about her struggling child was astounded that the gunman had gotten in: "It's a locked school; you have to be buzzed in," she later said.

Lanza blasted his way in.

Hochsprung heard the loud pop. She, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and Vice Principal Natalie Hammond went to investigate.

They were acting as the first line of protection and paid heavily for it. Only Hammond returned from the hallway alive - but not unscathed.

Along with Hochsprung, 47, and Sherlach, 56, four teachers perished.

Victoria Soto, 27, moved her first-grade students away from the classroom door. The gunman burst in and shot her, according to the father of a surviving student.

"She would not hesitate to think to save anyone else before herself and especially children," her mother, Donna Soto, told CNN's Piers Morgan.

Read the full story


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Filed under: School violence • Teachers