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Indiana education official against plan to arm teachers

March 20, 2018
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Jennifer McCormick (File photo)

A top education official in Indiana is opposing President Donald Trump's suggestion that arming teachers would be an effective way to prevent mass shootings in schools.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick said Monday she believes "there are more risks than reward" to having teachers carrying loaded handguns in classrooms.

"We lose our keys for God's sake," McCormick said. "I can't imagine trying to keep track of guns."

But the Republican said she supports Indiana's current policy that allows police to carry firearms in school buildings to protect themselves and others.

"If you are a trained individual in the tactical sense, as far as law enforcement or school resource officers, I do believe there is room for that," McCormick said.

McCormick's opposition comes after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

McCormick said she was disappointed that lawmakers failed last week to approve Gov. Eric Holcomb's proposal to add $5 million to the millions Indiana already spends annually on safety grants to schools. But she said she remains optimistic that the money will be administratively reallocated in the coming weeks, or appropriated during the special legislative session in May that Holcomb called for Monday.

McCormick said she expects school safety to be a major focus during the 2019 General Assembly when lawmakers put together the next two-year budget.

"We're going to have school safety be a priority every day, all hours. I mean, that's just who schools are. And it's not easy," McCormick said. "But you have to have fiscal support."

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