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One Big Problem With The Idea Of Arming Teachers: Insurance Companies Won't Play Along, and for Good Reason
It should be obvious to anyone with a lick of sense that the single most insane idea for addressing the crisis of school shootings is the arming of teachers.
Virtually no one seriously involved with school security wants this to happen. "It's a high-risk, high-liability proposition," says school security consultant Ken Trump (no relation to the president). "School board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, school safety experts, and public safety officials consistently do not believe that educators and school support staff should be armed."
Experience tells us that one stakeholder in school security that might have the last word is the insurance industry. After the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre — the last time that arming teachers got serious consideration — insurers across the country put the kibosh on the idea.
That was especially true in Kansas, which went further than most other states in allowing school personnel to bring guns onto their premises. The Kansas law gave school districts the prerogative to allow teachers, administrators and other employees with concealed-carry permits to carry their guns into schools.
Districts pondering the idea after the measure was signed in April 2013 by Sam Brownback, the state's tea party governor, got swift pushback from EMC Insurance Companies, which provided coverage to more than 85% of the state's districts.
"Concealed handguns on school premises pose a heightened liability risk," the insurer informed districts via its agent network. "We have chosen not to ensure schools that allow employees to carry concealed handguns. Schools permitting concealed handguns will be declined, as new business. Existing schools permitting concealed handguns will not be renewed."
Presumably, to avoid being tagged as a 2nd Amendment opponent, EMC specified that it was taking the action "simply to protect the financial security of the company."
Several school districts that had been toying with the idea dropped it after the warning. In Indiana, workers compensation insurers said they wouldn't cover personnel who carried guns onto campuses. Oregon's major liability insurance consortium said it would surcharge districts for every civilian employee they allowed to bring firearms to school, which discouraged the initiative.
In Texas and a number of other states, holders of concealed-carry permits can bring firearms into schools; 40 states bar guns even for employees with concealed-carry permits except under certain conditions. In California, civilian school employees aren't permitted to bring weapons onto the premises.
It's not hard to find the source of the ridiculous idea of arming teachers. It's the National Rifle Assn., of course, the goal of which in every case is: more guns. (The purest distillation of this policy is NRA chief Wayne LaPierre's assertion after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.")