Retired WI teacher weighs in on debate to put guns in the classr - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Retired WI teacher weighs in on debate to put guns in the classroom


Madison (WKOW) -- The latest school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that took the life of 17 people, has re-ignited a debate across the country on how to keep schools safe. And opinions are strong here in Wisconsin on both sides of the argument.

“It makes me sick to my stomach to think that somebody died,” said retired teacher Diane Wilcenski. “These kids were in school and come to school feeling that they are safe. And then this type of thing happens.”

Some lawmakers -- as well as President Trump -- suggested arming teachers in the classroom.

"We have to take steps to harden our schools so they're less vulnerable to attack. This includes allowing well-trained and certified school personnel to carry concealed firearms,” Trump said. “At some point, you need volume. I don't know that a school is going to be able to hire a hundred security guards."

But Wilcenski – who worked in the Sheboygan school district for nearly 40 years as a teacher and administrator -- thinks that idea is not well thought out.

“I don't think that there's a place in schools for them. I would not have been comfortable in a school environment with teachers being armed. I don’t think it does anything for the safety of the school. I think it adds another layer of possible conflict that could arise with that.”

At a Madison school board meeting Monday night, NRA member David Blaska said the district should consider arming teachers.

“They might actually be able to stop some of these shooters rather than holding their hands out and becoming victims themselves,” Blaska said.

If put in a situation of an active shooter during her time as a teacher, Wilcenski isn't sure how she would have reacted if armed.

“I don't know if I could take another life. Even if my life was threatened. I don't know. Perhaps being put in that situation. I just don't know. Protecting the students is another thing.”

But President Trump said arming teachers could be a deterrent to a potential attacker.

“The bad guy has to understand that there is a big price to pay when they mess around with our students."

Wilcenski feels there are other ways to better safeguard students and teachers. She said teachers should be armed with resources -- like psychologist -- to help kids deal with mental issues. She also thinks schools should have a single point of entry.

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