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How much would it cost to arm teachers in Arizona?

Posted at 10:31 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 08:41:38-05

Shortly after the Parkland, Fla. shooting, President Donald Trump announced he supports arming teachersas a way to prevent mass shootings and to harden our schools, in various interviews, saying 20% of teachers should have guns. 

ABC15 wanted to find out how much such a proposal would cost our state. 

As a music teacher, Noah Karvelis is used to having an instrument in his hand. But if it's up to President Trump, that guitar could turn into a gun. 

"I don't even have words for it," Karvelis explains, who teaches music education at a school in Tolleson. 

"A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he even knew what happened," President Trump said about the 19-year-old Parkland, Fla. shooting suspect, who killed 17 people on February 14. 

One of the President's solutions would be to arm certain teachers, especially ones with military or weapons experience. 

It's something one Valley teacher told us he agrees with. He did not want to disclose his identity, but told us, "I'm okay for it being an option for teachers who are extensively trained." 

But in Arizona, like many other states, the proposal wouldn't be cheap. 

One gun expert we spoke to said all in, including ammo, training, and the actual gun, it would be around $1,000 per teacher. 

According to the Arizona Department of Education, we have roughly 60,000 active teachers in the state. A fifth of that number comes to around 12,000. At the cost of $1,000 per teacher, it would cost roughly $12,000,000 to carry out that plan. 

Karvelis tells us he has better ways to spend that cash. 

"If a screw gets broken, I gotta go get that. If a string gets broken or a guitar gets broken, we don't have it anymore unless I buy it, so I go out of pocket for things all the time." 

Karvelis grew up in rural Illinois and was an avid hunter, even owning guns at one point. But he's worried arming teachers would create a more hostile atmosphere in schools, one in which minority students could be impacted by more than other groups. 

"I'm not anti-gun. I'm anti-murderous weapons and slaughtering kids in schools. And that's what it comes down to for me." 

We did reach out to State Superintendent Diane Douglas late Tuesday for comment, but she was not available. 

She has yet to take a formal position on arming teachers, but we're told through a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Education that she supports training and funding school resource officers, funding more security measures, and making sure warning signs are looked into and investigated with students who may be troubled.