By Gerry Hills, Chair, DSC UMC Gun Violence Awareness Task Force
Phoenix, AZ – The Gun Violence Awareness Task Force of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church, has issued a response to the New York Times report that Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss is considering diverting Title IV grant dollars allocated for community schools, 21st century and afterschool programs to arm teachers with guns.
The statement reads as follows:
The Gun Violence Awareness Task Force of the Desert Southwest Conference, United Methodist Church, believes that many of our constituency are opposed to arming teachers. In a time where citizens are struggling to adequately fund schools, buy text books, upgrade technology, repair buildings, and improve teacher salaries. Diverting education funds to buys guns is misguided and dangerous. Studies show even trained law enforcement officials average a 20% accuracy ration in active shooter situations. (Violence Policy Center vpc.org) It is unreasonable to assume armed teachers with far less training will be effective in stopping an armed gunman.
We strongly encourage Secretary DeVoss to sit down with all stakeholders to develop effective and comprehensive safe school strategies which should include policies that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, increased counselors in schools, and ensuring safe learning environments for all students.