Expert discourages legislators from arming teachers

Expert discourages legislators from arming teachers
According to an email sent to JCTA members from the union, 954 votes were cast. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
William Modzeleski (Source: WAVE 3 News)
William Modzeleski (Source: WAVE 3 News)
During the Education Committee meeting, advocates against guns in schools filled the room. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
During the Education Committee meeting, advocates against guns in schools filled the room. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Frankfort, KY - (WAVE) - A national school safety expert had blunt words of warning for state legislators who might want to arm teachers and principals: "Be careful what you ask for."

School safety consultant William Modzeleski used to work for the U.S. Justice Department, and was a former Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Department of Education.

Invited to speak publicly to a joint Education Committee, Modzeleski drew applause from teachers in attendance when he said, "People who say teachers should have guns in schools, haven't been in schools, and don't understand schools."

Modzeleski advocated finding ways to make teachers, administrators and parents more connected to the children in order to identify problems before they lead to violence.

Democratic Rep. Will Coursey is from Marshall County, where a student gunman killed two people and wounded 18. He introduced a bill to provide more counselors to public schools.

"I couldn't agree with you more," Coursey told Modzeleski. "I hate to use a cliché, but we have to strike while the iron is hot. Or else we are not going to get anything done."

Marshall County School Superintendent Trent Lovett also attended the hearing. He told reporters he did not support arming teachers.

After the shooting, Lovett said the school began conducting bag checks, and students were screened with metal detecting wands.

"Is that the answer? Maybe not," Lovett said. "But it's making our kids feel safer and that's important to me."

In spite of the expert advice on getting to know your students better, Lovett went on to say he does not believe anything more could have been done to prevent the shooting at his school.

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