Today, Congressman Sires released the following statement in response to a growing national conversation on arming our nation's teachers, highlighted by Governor Rick Perry's (R-TX) public statement that alluded to allowing school districts to decide whether teachers can carry weapons in the classroom:
"Governor Perry's statement today at a meeting of a local Tea Party chapter is a prime example of the type of irresponsible reaction by the right-wing gun loyalists. As a former teacher, I know first-hand that the short-sighted notion of arming our teachers is not the answer to preventing mass shootings like that in Newtown.
Teachers are first and foremost educators of our children- not local law enforcement agents. They are expected to be role models teaching our children understanding, civility, and tolerance. What sort of example would be set when a student looks up at the blackboard and notices a gun strapped to their teacher?
Security initiatives must be left in the hands of law enforcement professionals. Coming from an urban environment, I know the challenges of ensuring that our children are safe in the classroom. Congress needs to look at solutions that work in the 21st century at preventing gun violence in our schools, such as banning military assault weapons that were meant for combat in war zones- not on Main Street."