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NY Teacher Union President Against Arming Teachers

This is a picture of a teacher's classroom desk
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The head of New York state’s largest teachers union says arming teachers won’t make schools safer, but he says schools should have more protection.

The president of New York State United Teachers, Andy Pallotta, says he’s heard from his members in the days since the Florida school shooting, 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 Sheriff’s 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 says he believes that option “should be on the table”, but says it’s up to individual school districts to decide.

He says 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.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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