Guns for teachers? Valley teachers test themselves, beliefs in ABC15 experiment

TEMPE, AZ - A group of six Valley teachers agreed to experience the same active school shooting simulation used to train police officers across the country.

The six teachers – three men and three women – teach at public and charter schools across the Valley.

None of them, including an Army combat veteran, said they support the idea of placing guns in their hands. However, all of them were willing to test themselves and their beliefs because they think this issue is important.

WATCH THE EXPERIMENT/INTERVIEW IN THE TWO VIDEOS ABOVE

VirTra Inc. agreed to host the teachers for the experiment. The Tempe-based company, which is not taking a position on the issue, sells simulators to police departments across the country.

ABC15 set up the experiment last week after hearing lawmakers and the President propose arming teachers in the wake of the February shooting that killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. 

“This may be 10 percent or 20 percent of the population of teachers,” President Donald Trump said. “It’s not all of them, but you would have a lot."

ABC15 wasn’t able to find a teacher who supports arming educators to participate in the experiment. The station posted an open Facebook request (reaching more than 89,000 people) seeking teachers on both sides of the issue. Reporters also couldn’t find someone independently.

The six teachers interviewed by ABC15 said they didn’t know a single colleague who supports the idea of arming educators in schools.

After ABC15’s story, the station was contacted by a handful of teachers who believe arming educators could save lives. Most of those teachers asked to have their names withheld because of the controversial nature of this issue (hear what they have to say in the second video above).

The Arizona Education Association is opposed to the idea of arming teachers. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also has taken a position against the proposal.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Monday on ABC15 News at 6 p.m., see more of these six teachers’ powerful interview and the ideas about how to better solve the problem.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dbiscobing@abc15.com.

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