Unit 4 against arming teachers


    The Champaign Unit 4 School Board takes a stand against a statewide resolution to arm teachers, as the proposed measure will be put to a vote at the upcoming Illinois Association of School Boards annual conference. (WCCU)<p>{/p}

    The Champaign Unit 4 School Board takes a stand against a statewide resolution to arm teachers, as the proposed measure will be put to a vote at the upcoming Illinois Association of School Boards annual conference.

    At Monday night's meeting, board members, teachers, students and parents all objected to the idea of having guns in schools.

    A school board member started the conversation by reading through feedback they’ve received thus far, highlighting key points -- one parent writing, “An educator, not a soldier.” Another wrote, “Guns equal more potential for violence.”

    Even after the unanimous vote, teachers and students reiterated their objections during the public comment session.

    "For those and a million other reasons, more guns will not solve our problems,” Centennial High School teacher Lindsay Aikman said.

    Aikman isn’t alone, as she said more than 40 local teachers bravely joined her in this fight.

    “Even though it's hard, politically, to be vocal about this right now because it's seen as such a bipartisan issueIt's really important to speak up, because it plays such a strong role in our job,” Aikman said.

    Students also spoke before the board, voicing their thoughts and fears about the idea of teachers carrying guns.

    "I and my other students are worried about gun violence in our schools and around the community,” Centennial High School senior Sophie Brown, said. “I agree something needs to be done, but putting guns around schools isn't the answer."

    On the other side of the debate is Urbana parent Kenneth Miller.

    "If a teacher wants to be armed, I believe they should be able to defend themselves and defend the children,” Miller said.

    Despite popular opinion, Miller isn’t giving up on the possibility of local teachers having the right to bear arms in the classroom. Miller said he writes and calls state lawmakers, persuading them to implement this change.

    “The only thing we can do is fight for these children and if we're not going to fight for them, then we are going to pay a horrible price for them,” Miller said.

    The proposed resolution and overall movement to arm teachers stems mostly from rural districts in the southern part of the state.

    If the proposed measure passes at the IASB annual conference, arming teachers could become a legislative priority for the organization. However, it will take legal action at the state level before arming teachers could become a reality.

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