DES MOINES, Iowa — The heartbreak of seventeen innocent students and teachers killed in the mass shooting in Florida continues to be felt across the country, including within the Iowa State Education Association. “Our members are sad, they are scared, they are frustrated that we`re at this point,” said ISEA President Tammy Wawro.
President Donald Trump commended the courage of every victim in the mass shooting and offered a solution to stop future tragedies. “That coach was very brave. Saved a lot of lives I suspect but if he had a firearm he wouldn’t have had to run. He would have shot and that would have been the end of it,” said President Trump.
President Trump’s position, to arm certain teachers that have a military background or firearm training has been met with stiff opposition from the Des Moines Police Department. Sergeant Parizek said, “It is a skill set that diminishes. That’s why we practice all the time because it requires precision and the only way you keep that is by training all the time. So is that something teachers want to get involved with?”
Wawro believes more guns does not equal more safety. Spotting a problem early on does that. “If we want to introduce more things into our schools we need more counselors, we need more school psychologists, we need help and support with students on a daily basis.”
Wawro says Trump`s recommendation for teachers to become first responders is ironic considering state legislators stripped away some of educators bargaining rights a year ago, in part because they are not recognized as such. “We are no longer able to sit down and put into contract safety in our school houses and I think it is very ironic that here we are.”
The ISEA is not without a plan, “We might have to discuss how we retro fit the current buildings. We have to make sure they are safer, entrances are protected, there are things experts need to look at,” said Wawro. Measures that police believe are more proactive. “We all know that action beats reaction and the best action in this is to focus on the efforts of figuring out how we keep those guns out of the wrong hands,” said Parizek.
Iowa schools are not immune from guns. The Des Moines Police Department tells us they seized a total of five firearms on school campuses during the 2016-2017 school year..