Teachers union president against arming teachers

Feb 27, 2018

The head of the state’s largest teachers union said arming teachers won’t make schools safer, but he said schools should have more protection. 

Andy Pallotta, president of New York State United Teachers, said he’s heard from teachers since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school, and many have expressed alarm about the idea of arming teachers.

“And to put an additional burden on them,” Pallotta said. “I don’t think our teachers would want this.”

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association is advocating for money in the state budget to fund at least one armed law enforcement officer in each school in the state. Pallotta said he believes that option “should be on the table,” but he said it’s up to individual school districts to decide.

He said schools also need a greater investment in mental health services, school psychologists, social workers and guidance counselors to better identify students in crisis before they may become violent.